Income Tax Returns, PAN, Foreign Assets Details mandatory for Lok Sabha Election Candidates
The Government, in order to bring more accountability and transparency in the election process and to make easy verification of the candidates details, mandated that the candidates of election shall
- declare their income tax returns of the last five years,
- details of foreign assets and Permanent Account Number (PAN).
According to a notification issued by the Central Government on 26.02.2019 besides the candidate, spouse, members of the Hindu Undivided Family and dependents are also required to declare all the details at the time of filing nomination.
Earlier, a candidate contesting election had to only disclose the last I-T return for self, spouse and dependents in Form 26. The Election Commission Rules mandates the candidates to file an affidavit which carries details about his/her assets, liabilities, educational qualification and criminal antecedents. There was no column asking them to share the details of foreign assets.
The notification also mandates the details of foreign assets acquired by the candidates.
The Notification said that the changes have introduced in Form 26 and it will be effective for all upcoming elections including the Lok Sabha polls. “In case of no PAN, candidates must clearly say ‘No PAN allotted’,” the Notification said.
As per the notification, offshore assets means details of all deposits or investments in foreign banks. Also, details of any other body or institution abroad and details of all assets and liabilities in foreign countries must be shared.
The changes were made to the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.
The IE report said that Election Commission had written to the Law Ministry on February 13 seeking amendments to Form 26. The Election Commission said that changes in the Form 26 would make the verification process easier for the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
The CBDT is responsible for scrutinising affidavits submitted by the candidates It verified whether the information provided by a candidate on movable and immovable assets matches the income they have declared in the past.
The CBDT can scrutinize all poll affidavits if referred by the Election Commission.
New Delhi, the 26th February, 2019
S.O. 1023(E).—In exercise of the powers conferred by section 169 read with section 33 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951), the Central Government after consulting the Election Commission hereby makes the
following rules further to amend the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, namely:––
1. (1) These rules may be called the Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules 2019.
(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
2. In the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 in FORM 26,––
I. in PART A—
(i) for paragraph (4) and the Table thereunder, the following shall be substituted, namely:—
“(4) Details of Permanent Account Number (PAN) and status of filing of income tax return:
Download Complete Notification Click here