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Tell people what MPs owe the exchequer: HC
March 01, 2004 17:30 IST
The Delhi high court on Monday directed the Election Commission clearly inform the public about the money that candidates contesting the coming Lok Sabha elections owe the government.
A division bench of Chief Justice B C Patel and Justice B D Ahmed said the publicity, in the form of advertisements, would be in addition to that given by the media. Quoting last year's Supreme Court judgment in the People's Union for Civil Liberties case, the bench said, "An informed voter is the foundation of democracy".
The order came during a hearing on a PIL filed in 1998 by Krishak Bharat seeking directions to MTNL, NDMC and ITDC to recover dues, running into crores of rupees, from politicians and political parties.
Altogether 656 sitting and former MPs owe Rs 11.18crore to the state-owned MTNL while 669 MPs owe Rs 6.32crore to NDMC towards water and electricity bills.
The court issued notices to the Secretaries General of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha asking why the arrears vis-à-vis telephone, electricity and water bills of sitting and former MPs were not deducted from their salary, allowances and pension as permissible under the relevant rules.
However, politicians got a respite as the court did not order them to obtain a 'No Dues' certificates from the departments concerned and produce the same before the Returning Officer while filing nomination papers.
They are only required to give a declaration/affidavit regarding the arrears for facilities like water, electricity, accommodation, telephone and vehicles availed of by them beyond the limits permissible under the rules.