New Delhi: The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL challenging the perks, including pension and travel allowances, given to former Parliamentarians. A bench of Justice J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul said, “The petition is dismissed”. The bench had reserved its verdict on March 7 this year.
The Centre had on March 7 told the apex court that the entitlement of former Members of Parliament (MPs) to get pension and other benefits was “justified” as their dignity has to be maintained even after they complete their tenure as parliamentarians. The Centre had told the bench about the Finance Bill 2018 which contains provisions regarding salary and pension of MPs and also about revision of their allowances after every five years starting from April 1, 2023, on the basis of cost inflation index.
The apex court had in February directed the Centre to clarify its stand on setting up of an independent mechanism for determination of salaries and allowances of MPs after the government had said the issue was “under consideration”. The top court had in March last year agreed to examine the constitutional validity of laws granting pension and other perks to retired MPs and had sought responses from the Centre and ECI on the issue.
An NGO ‘Lok Prahari’ has approached the apex court challenging the Allahabad High Court order dismissing its plea which had claimed that pension and other perks being given to MPs even after demitting office were contrary to Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution. The plea has also said that Parliament has no power to provide for pensionary benefits to lawmakers without making any law.