Need to monitor lawmakers income, disqualification over inappropriate assets
Implementing a Supreme Court order to set up a permanent mechanism to monitor the source of income of lawmakers and to make disproportionate assets a fresh ground for their disqualification may require amendment in election laws, said most participants of a meet held on Monday to discuss the apex court directions.
Senior officials of the secretariats of both the Houses of Parliament, Legislative Department of the Law Ministry, the Election Commission and about 20 state legislatures attended the meeting held here.
Sources in Parliament said, during the discussion, it was felt by participants that though there are rules in different legislatures requiring the members to declare their assets and liabilities soon after their election, there is no provision to ensure compliance of the same.
Besides, there is no provision requiring such periodic declaration thereafter. Also, there is no provision under any Act of Parliament or rules of respective legislatures to disqualify members from the Legislatures on account of acquisition of disproportionate assets.
"The participants felt that the implementation of the direction of the apex court may require necessary amendment in the Representation of the People Act, 1951 making such disproportionate acquisition of assets a ground for disqualification from the membership of the House," a functionary explained.
The apex court, in its February 16, 2018 judgment had directed for the "creation of a permanent institutional mechanism to continuously monitor the assets and sources of the income of the legislators and their associates which include spouses and dependents."
It had also said that appropriate action is taken in case of a disproportionate increase in their assets during the tenure of the membership, including disqualification from membership of the House.
(With inputs from agencies.)