'People can go to court against candidates filing false affidavits'

Chief election commissioner V S SampathChief election commissioner V S Sampath replies to emailed questions from Shyamlal Yadav. IE

The Indian Express analysis of declarations by candidates found many undervaluing their immovable assets. Can't candidates be asked to attach valuation reports?

Candidates are required to furnish details of the actual (initial) cost of immovable property, any investment in it by way of development, and current market value. There is no provision in the law to get valuation of immovable property done by an approved valuer before filing the affidavit.

Many have valued these on the basis of their wealth tax returns, which does not reflect current market value. What is the C view?

Since the actual cost, additional investments and location of the property are mentioned in the affidavit, there is no need to ask for a separate valuation to determine the current market value. Since there is no provision under the Representation of the People Act or the Conduct of Elections Rules to ask for valuation, some candidates may be filing the valuation as per the wealth tax return as wealth tax laws prescribe valuation methods.

Many have undervalued their jewellery too. How does the EC plan to address this?

Form 26 provides for details of the weight and value of the jewellery. Once the weight is known, valuation can be reasonably gauged with reference to the market rate of the metal.

Shouldn't candidates also declare the assets of their children, whether dependent or not?

The Supreme Court had directed that assets and liabilities may be required to be disclosed only of the candidate, his/her spouse and dependants. Dependants here mean "sons and daughters who... are fully dependent on the candidate... for their livelihood". Therefore, candidates cannot be asked to declare the assets of children who are not dependent on them.

District electoral officers do not scrutinise affidavits. Shouldn't they do so?

... contd.

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