Supreme Court: ‘Gifts’ received by a government official is not included as a part of the officials legitimate income

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Recently, the Apex court ordered for the conviction of Late CM Jayalalitha’s associates i.e. Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elivarsi in the existing case of possession of disproportionate assets. In its judgment, it issued a landmark ruling whereby any gifts received by the Public Servants will not be considered as legal source of income.
Such gifts to the public servants, as defined in context to Sections 161-165A of the IPC, will now be included under Prevention of Corruption Act and are thus illegal. The defense council of the convicted parties has claimed that these gifts received on the birthday of Jayalalitha are treated as lawful income and are considered legal by IT authorities. Also, the same have been disclosed in her Income tax returns, on which the requisite tax has been paid.

But, on the claim made by defense counsel, the Court rejected their contention stating that any such disclosure in the IT return or orders made by the respective IT authorities do not validate the receipt of legal source of income. Hence, the accused are to be charged under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Thus, in consideration to the evidence, facts and circumstances observed in the case, the court declared that Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Elavarsi were involved in the criminal conspiracy to hold illegally obtained Jayalalitha’s assets.

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