It was only very recently that the Govt. of India made it mandatory for candidates to declare their assets for standing in elections. It seems in 10th century AD in some villages in Tamil Nadu, such a system already existed.
The newly-discovered Tamil inscriptions of Parantaka Chola and Parthivendrathipathi Varman, dating back to the 10th century A.D., in a village called Pazhaiya Seevaram, show that those elected to the local assembly (called variyam in the inscriptions) had to take the oath of office and disclose their assets every year to the assembly. Besides, the accountant of the local assembly had to give a list of his assets to the assembly.
This system of local self-government in the villages is an important feature of the 10th century Chola administration. Uttiramerur, about 25 km. from in Kancheepuram, is famous for the inscriptions found there about its self-government, the election system based on ballots, qualifications for candidates and the subsequent relaxation of qualifications. The inscriptions at Uttiremerur of Parantaka Chola I (907-955 A.D.) were dated 917 A.D. and 921 A.D.
According to Dr. Rajavelu, the inscriptions belonging to the 15th regnal year of Parantaka Chola-I (922 A.D.) reveal that the assembly waselected through wards (kudumpu) of the village and through the Brahminical assembly (sabha). The members of the variyam received an annual payment of two kalanju of gold for their work as variya perumakkal. They were not to receive any other payments or concessions. They had to perform their variyam work and list their assets every year.The inscriptions at both Uttiramerur and Pazhaiya Seevram showed that there was an excellent system of self-government at the village level in Tamil Nadu in the 10th century A.D., the epigraphist said. [Declaration of assets dates back to the Cholas]
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