Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha continues to be on the list of former MPs who draw pensions even though he holds a salaried position, the Centre’s response to a Right to Information query showed, according to The Telegraph.
A former MP is not entitled to receive pensions while they are appointed as president, vice-president, governor of any state or the administrator of a Union territory, according to the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954.
A lieutenant governor qualifies as a Union Territory administrator, an unidentified Indian Administrative Services officer told The Telegraph on Sunday.
Sinha had been appointed as the lieutenant general of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2020. Previously, he has been elected as a Lok Sabha MP from Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh in 1996, 1999 and 2014. His tenure as an MP got over in 2019.
Sinha’s media advisor Yatish Yadav claimed that the lieutenant governor’s office had asked for the pension to be stopped on August 6, 2020 itself, the day he was appointed to the post.
“The stop pension order was issued on September 15, 2020, by the pay and account officer of the Lok Sabha with effect from August 7, 2020,” Yadav said in an email to the newspaper. “The process, it appears, was delayed and pension was credited till December 2020. Pay and account office has been informed about it and has been requested to recover the excess pension from the bank”.
Yadav added that the RTI response provided by the Central Pension Accounting Office to an activist from Bihar might be based on old information. The reply was dated October 12, 2021.
More than 2,700 former MPs, or their dependents, are presently drawing pensions, The Telegraph reported.
Among them is Bihar minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, a member of the state’s legislative assembly. As an MLA, he is also not entitled to receive pension under the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act.
Hussain told The Telegraph that he has been returning the pension credited to his account. “I know the rules,” he said. “I have not taken out a single rupee from the Lok Sabha pension sent to my bank account. I have informed the pension department in Parliament.”