Calling the undue accretion of assets of legislators a matter that should alarm the citizens, the court ruled that "if left unattended it would inevitably lead to the destruction of democracy and pave the way for the rule of mafia".
The judgement came on a petition by Lok Prahari, a non-profit, that also sought that those contesting elections should reveal the sources of their income along with that of their spouses and dependents.
"Information regarding the sources of income of candidates and their associates would, in our opinion, certainly help the voter to make an informed choice of the candidate to represent the constituency in the legislature," said a bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer.
Currently, as per law, candidates contesting elections are bound only to divulge their assets and that of their dependents while filing their nomination papers.
Citing different means by which a lawmaker and his associates add to their assets, the court said, "There are known cases of availing of huge amount of loans for allegedly commercial purposes from public financial institutions by legislators or their associates either directly or through bodies corporate which are controlled by them".
The verdict comes at a time a court in London is hearing India's plea to extradite businessman and former lawmaker Vijay Mallya who has defaulted on bank loans worth over Rs 9,000 crore.
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