MPs' perks: SC disinclined to allow plea

MPs' perks: SC disinclined to allow plea

MPs' perks: SC disinclined to allow plea

The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed its disinclination to allow a plea questioning the life-long pension and other facilities being provided to MPs and their spouses. It said even though 82% MPs are 'crorepatis', it is not for the court to go into such debates as people always have a choice to throw them out.

The Centre also opposed the plea, saying the dignity of MPs after completion of their term has to be maintained as they subject themselves to great amount of sacrifice.

A bench of Justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul was apparently not convinced with a contention made by S N Shukla, general secretary of NGO Lok Prahari, that MPs can't have all such facilities like free travel in violation of Article 14 (equality) of the Constitution in contrast to other constitutional functionaries like judges, CAG, UPSC chairman and members and bureaucrats.

"You can't equate the working conditions of MPs with judges, CAG and whole time government servants as their functions are different," the bench said.

Shukla said according to a report, more than 82% MPs are crorepatis and providing them life-long pension, free travel etc in a democracy affected the level playing field and free and fair polls, besides violating the fundamental rights of all tax-payers.

"How many bureaucrats are crorepatis? Should we stop their salaries and perks? We can't get into all these debates. Is there any democracy in the world where these questions are decided by the court," the bench further asked the petitioner.

In his arguments, Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted that the challenge to competence of Parliament to determine salaries and allowances of legislators has earlier been dismissed by the apex court. He said MPs are a distinct class and they can't look after their business and profession as they have to regularly attend Parliament, the law-making body.

He also told the court that an idea to set up an independent mechanism for revising salaries and allowances of MPs has been given up. A finance bill has been proposed to automatically revise their salaries every five years, he said.

The court reserved its judgement on a special leave petition challenging an Allahabad High Court judgement, dismissing the plea.