Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that Parliament alone had the prerogative to decide how much public money can be spent and how much can be allotted to MPs as pension. His statements follow the Supreme Court’s orders on Wednesday asking the Centre to reply to a petition against the lifetime pension and benefits enjoyed by parliamentarians and their spouses.
“It is the exclusive domain of Parliament to decide who is entitled to a government pension and how much,” Jaitley said, adding that all institutions will have to “eventually accept” this Constitutional provision, Hindustan Times reported.
Jaitley made the statements after Congress MP Jairam Ramesh expressed his surprise over a report that 80% of Indian MPs were crorepatis. Opposition MPs raised the matter in the House while quoting a petitioner’s statement in the Supreme Court.
“Pension is given for the purpose of providing financial assistance to a retired person, but 80% of MPs are crorepatis and do not require pension. It is a largesse given to them, and there are no guidelines and laws to regulate the facilities provided to them,“ Kamini Jaiswal, representing NGO Lok Prahari, had said.
The NGO had wanted to know the procedure followed by the government to decide on the salaries and allowances of MPs. Its plea had pointed out that even governors do not enjoy such privileges. The petition was earlier set aside by the Allahabad High Court, which had held that it lacked merit.