The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea seeking that lifelong pension and perks for former parliamentarians and benefits for their families be scrapped.
A bench of Justices Jasti Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul was hearing a plea by Lok Prahari, a non-governmental organisation, against an Allahabad High Court judgement dismissing its petition that pension and other perks being given to MPs even after they leave office are unconstitutional, Live Law reported. “Parliament has no power to provide for pensionary benefits for lawmakers without making any law,” the plea contended.
The NGO had also said that there should be a permanent mechanism to fix the salaries and allowances of MPs and MLAs.
The Supreme Court admitted the NGO’s plea on March 22 last year, and sent notices to the Centre and the Election Commission of India. In response, the Centre said that Parliamentarians had to receive pension as their “dignity had to be maintained” even after they complete their tenure.
“Parliament is the law-making authority. Parliament has to ensure that so far as MPs are concerned, they can function effectively,” Attorney General of India KK Venugopal said when the court reserved its order on March 7 this year. “MPs have to contest elections every five years. They have to go to their constituencies and travel. So giving pension to them is justified.”
The attorney general also told the court that the Centre had “given up” the idea of establishing an independent mechanism to determine salaries and allowances of Parliamentarians. But he added that the Finance Bill, 2018, contains provisions for salaries and pensions of MPs and their revision every five years.