SC notice to Centre on plea opposing perks for MPs

SC notice to Centre on plea opposing perks for MPs

The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought response from the Union government and others on a plea for scrapping pension and other facilities provided to Members of Parliament and their spouse.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and S Abdul Nazeer issued notice to the Centre, the Election Commission and Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha secretary general on a special leave petition filed by NGO Lok Prahari through its general secretary S N Shukla. The petitioner maintained that the provision for pension for former MPs amounted to “legislative fraud”.

The bench said, “There was an era when people, who entered public life, have died as paupers...though we are prima facie of the opinion that allowances are necessary, it should be considered if the same could be structured.”

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal, appearing for the NGO, submitted that there must be some guidelines for disbursing money to the MPs as it is taxpayers money and drawn from the Consolidated Fund of India.

The counsel sought an independent mechanism to regulate pay and allowances of a Member of Parliament. “An MP, who entered Parliament at the age of 26 and  retired at 31, is also entitled to pension. The amount gets enhanced if he or she is able to retain his seat and gets re-elected,” the counsel submitted. She also contended that the Constituent Assembly had debated about possibility of lifelong pension for the MPs and rejected it.

The NGO claimed this case was a glaring example of how public representatives have converted the position of MP/MLA/MLC into an office of profit for life.

“While the Governors do not have the facility of pension at all, an MP, even for a day, and his spouse get pension for life.

While even serving judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts do not have the facility of free air/train travel for their spouse even on official tours, an ex-MP enjoyed unlimited free train travel for life in AC II (tier) with a companion 365 days a year,” it said.
DH News Service

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