Supreme Court notice on pension to former legislators

NGO asks court to scrap cash for retired lawmakers.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Centre, Secretaries of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Election Commission and Attorney General on a petition filed by NGO, Lok Prahari, challenging pension and allowances given to former legislators.

A Bench headed by Justice J. Chelameswar issued notice on the appeal against a judgment of the Allahabad High Court rejecting the NGO’s plea to scrap such pension and allowances to former lawmakers.

Counsel Kamini Jaiswal, drew the apex court’s attention to the fact that there were no guidelines enumerated for such allowances. She pointed out that a government employee has to contribute to the pension fund for availing the post-retirement benefits.

However, in the case of lawmakers, she said, money is spent from a consolidated fund of India, which is the taxpayers money. “We have seen an era where MPs after serving in public life for long have died as paupers,” the bench remarked before issuing notices. Facilities and allowances must be reasonable and not arbitrary, it said.

Questioning the various provisions of the law framed by Parliament permitting former MPs to avail various allowances, the petitioner alleged that the perks granted to ex-MPs/MLAs/MLCs were unreasonable and should be withdrawn.

“While the Governors do not have the facility of pension at all, an MP even for a day, he 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 spouses even on official tours, ex-MPs enjoy unlimited free train travel for life in AC-II with a companion 365 days a year,” the petition said.

A former MP, petitioner state’s, becomes an unwarranted burden on the citizens, it claimed, and said it was not their birthright to fleece the public whom they no longer represent. “Politics has become the most lucrative profession,” the petition said and pleaded for scrapping such allowances.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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