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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: New norms for poll aspirants a vote for accountability

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The government did well to accept the Election Commission of India’s (ECI’s) recommendation that candidates contesting elections must mandatorily file their income tax (I-T) returns of the preceding five years and details of offshore assets at the time of filing nomination papers. The new disclosure norms will not only apply to the candidate, but also extend to the spouse and dependents—in case the candidate is a coparcener in a Hindu Undivided Family, such details will be required of every member.

This is a sea-change from the norms earlier, under which candidates were required to submit I-T returns details (self, spouse and dependents) for only the previous year. Although they were required under the law to give PAN details (self, spouse and dependents),most didn’t provide these; the new norms require that these details be provided, and, if there is no PAN allotted, this be explicitly mentioned. The government........

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