The Supreme Court on Monday held that it is not compulsory for candidates contesting elections to disclose each and every piece of moveable property owned by them or their family members, unless the assets are of substantial value or reflect a luxurious lifestyle, reported Live Law.

The judgement by the division bench of Justices Anirudhha Bose and Sanjay Kumar said this while upholding the 2019 election of Independent MLA Karikho Kri from the Tezu Assembly constituency in Arunachal Pradesh.

The court set aside an order of the Gauhati High Court that had declared Kri’s election null and void for not declaring the complete list of assets belonging to his wife and son at the time of filing his nomination.

The High Court order was passed on a plea by Congress candidate Nuney Tayang who had accused Kri of not disclosing three vehicles owned by his wife and son.

On Tuesday, however, the top court said that the non-disclosure of these assets cannot be considered a corrupt practice under Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which pertains to “corrupt practices” such as bribery, undue influence and false information.

The bench said that voters do note have an absolute right to know such information and that a candidate is not required to lay their life out for examination by the electorate, reported Live Law.

“His [candidate’s] right to privacy would still survive as regards matters which are of no concern to the voter or are irrelevant to his candidature for public office,” the court said. “In that respect, the non-disclosure of the each and every asset owned by a candidate would not amount to a defect, much less a defect of a substantial character.”

However, the bench clarified that candidates need to disclose their highly valued assets to let voters know about the lifestyles they lead. It also said that there is no blanket rule regarding the disclosure of a candidate’s assets and that each case would have to be judged on its merits.