Is transparency lacking in candidate disclosure

Syllabus: GS II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Elections and RPA, Issue: Election reforms

Context: Election Commission told Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to verify the disclosure of a candidate

Laws on disclosure by election candidate

  • Section 33 of RPA-1951 and rule 4A of Election rules mandate candidates to file affidavits.
  • ADR vs Union of India (2002) extended the scope by declaring that citizens have the right to know a candidate’s assets, liabilities, and criminal background.
  • Section 125 A of RPA-1951 penalizes failure to provide accurate information with imprisonment or fine.
  • Public Interest foundation vs Union of India (2018) directed candidates and parties to declare criminal antecedents in media at least thrice before election.
  • Recent Supreme Court ruling clarified non-disclosure of immaterial information doesn’t influence voter choice.


  • Candidates are leaving the column blank and filing incomplete information.

The way ahead:

  • Law commission of India (244th report) and Election Commission has recommended for incomplete/wrong disclosure:
  • Minimum two years of imprisonment, 5 years ban from contesting election provided case filed 6 months before election, day to day trial

The S.C. order regarding wider publicity need to be implemented so that voters can make an informed choice.

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