Supreme Court talks tough on disproportionate income of legislators, says Centre must set up special courts
The bench was of the opinion that not just the sources but the investigation must also deeply look into the sources of income.
The Supreme Court bench led by Justice Chelameswar has questioned the Centre on the present state of affairs when it comes to prosecuting legislators with disproportionate assets.
Hearing a public interest litigation, the top court questioned the Attorney General Venugopal saying that the current system hasn't worked effectively and there is a need to set up special courts for speedy trials.
Justice Chelameswar told Attorney General categorically that the past few decades have made it clear that the current system has lapses and a mere disclosure of income is not enough. The court also observed that it is not enough that a legislator discloses a legitimate source of income. It is important to enquire that how did the person get in that position to earn that income. The court was clearly trying to address issues of conflict of interest and propriety. The bench was of the opinion that not just the sources but the investigation must also deeply look into the sources of income.
Central Bureau of Direct Taxes has submitted a detailed report in a sealed envelope which contains details of the current Investigation against disproportionate assets. The court had kept those reports in its custody and refrained from public discourse.
SC QUESTIONS SPEND ON JUDICIARY
Justice Chelameswar further observed that people are quick to blame courts for delays in trials but with the creating a of new laws, there hasn't been any creation of new tribunals.
'Less than two percent spend on judiciary and infrastructure; other than Industrial Tribunals, there hasn't been any specialised tribunals created. Why doesn't the Parliament legislate and sets up special court,' observed Justice Chelameswar.
The bench is of the view that instead of giving directives to the state Centre just legislate and set up special courts which could hear cases related to disproportionate assets on a fast track basis.
SC SHOULD SUGGEST PARLIAMENT TO SET UP SPECIAL COURTS
Attorney General Venugopal appearing for the Centre told Supreme Court that setting up special courts is a question of 'priorities'. He further argued that CBDT is looking at all the cases very seriously and the current system is doing its best.
Venugopal further said that all sorts of disclosures are not made for example 'businesses which contribute to political parties might not want to disclose, unless there is a rule to pay by cheque'.
AG was of the opinion that the Supreme Court must pass a judgment suggesting Parliament must mull over a legislation.
Lok Prahari NGO has filed a plea seeking special mechanism to probe legislators with disproportionate income.