The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea for disclosure of sources of income by candidates for parliamentary and assembly elections.
Citing instances of exponential increase in assets held by lawmakers in just five years, the petitioner Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said assets of four sitting Lok Sabha members had increased by 1,200 per cent. There was 500 per cent increase in assets of 22 other Lok Sabha members.
Rajya Sabha member Anil Madhav Dave declared an asset growth of over 2,100 per cent, the petitioner pointed out.
The ADR cited the example of an Assam state legislator with declared increase of over 5,000 per cent in his assets. In the case of another legislator, from Kerala, the increase in assets is over 1,700 per cent since the 2011 assembly elections.
The ADR, in its application to be impleaded as co-petitioner in an earlier plea filed by Lucknow-based NGO Lok Prahari, contended that a number of people filing self-attested affidavits on their assets were not disclosing details of Income Tax returns.
The petitioner said an analysis of assets declared during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2016 Rajya Sabha elections as well as elections to Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, Assam and West Bengal assemblies revealed "abnormal increase" in assets of many members of Parliament and assemblies.
The Supreme Court on July 19, 2016, issued notices to the Centre and the Election Commission on a plea by Lok Prahari that candidates should disclose sources of income and whether they hold stakes in entities with business transactions with the government.
Lok Prahari told the court that candidates filing nomination papers were disclosing their assets and those of their spouse, children and other dependents but not sources of income through which they came to possess these.
The NGO said some lawmakers were thriving on easy money and of the 542 Lok Sabha members, 113 have described their profession as housewife, social worker, social service and politics.
The court directed the next hearing on the matter on February 20.