Voters’ Right To Know About Candidates’ Assets Not Absolute: Supreme Court

Candidates need not disclose each and every moveable property, the court said

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court today observed that voters do not have an “absolute right” to know about each and every asset of the candidates fighting elections.

“It is not an absolute right for any voter to delve deep into the private life of a candidate and each and every disclosure has to be of such nature which will impact the voting,” the bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and PV Sanjay Kumar said.

The top court said that the candidates have the right to privacy regarding matters which are irrelevant to the candidature for public office.

“It is not necessary that a candidate declare every item of moveable property that he or his dependent family members owns such as clothing, shoes, crockery, stationery, furniture etc., unless the same is of such value as to constitute a sizeable asset in itself or reflect upon his candidature in terms of his lifestyle and require to be disclosed”, the top court observed.

The Supreme Court direction came as it upheld the election of Independent MLA Karikho Kri from Tezu in the 2019 Arunachal Pradesh Assembly election, setting aside the Gauhati High Court order that had declared his election as null and void.

The High Court had declared his election null and void while hearing a petition filed by Congress candidate Nuney Tayang, challenging the declaration of the 2019 Assembly election result.

Mr Tayang had alleged that Mr Kri made false declarations in his election nomination paper by not disclosing that he was in occupation of a government accommodation.

The petitioner also claimed that Mr Kri did not submit “No Dues Certificates” from the concerned department for the rent, electricity charges, water charges and telephone charges of the government accommodation.

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