The disclosure will not be limited to the candidate, but also cover the spouse, members of the Hindu Undivided Family and dependents.
The Centre has made it mandatory for candidates contesting elections to declare their total income as shown in their Income Tax Returns (ITR) for the last five years, as recommended by the Election Commission of India (EC).
The disclosure will also have to cover the candidate’s spouse, members of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) and dependents.
The changes, applicable for candidates contesting all forthcoming elections, were introduced in Form 26 and notified by the Ministry of Law on February 26 as amendment to the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.
It is now being called the Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2019.
According to the notification, details to be shared should also include the interest in or ownership of offshore assets held by the candidates, their spouses, dependents and HUFs. It includes information of all deposits or investments in foreign banks and any other body or institution abroad, and details of all assets and liabilities in foreign countries.
Earlier, the candidates were required to declare their last I-T return (for self, spouse and dependents) in Form 26. Details of foreign assets were also not asked.The Conduct of Elections (Amendment) Rules, 2019 further emphasised mentioning the details of Permanent Account Number (PAN). Although the section was included in the old Form 26, the amended form clearly stated: It is mandatory for PAN holder to mention PAN and in case of no PAN, it should be clearly stated “No PAN allotted”.