SC dismisses challenge to pension and other perks given to retired lawmakers
Why in news?
The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a plea challenging the grant of pension and other perks to retired Members of Parliament (MPs).
- Accordingly, the current practice where lawmakers can fix their own salaries and allowances would continue.
- The court was ruling on a plea by NGO, Lok Prahari seeking to scrap amendments made by Parliament to the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954.
- The organization was appealing against an April 2016 order of the Allahabad high court dismissing a challenge to the constitutional validity of laws granting pension and other perks to retired members of Parliament.
- It was claimed that pension and other perks being given to MPs even after demitting office was contrary to Article 14 (right to equality) of the Constitution. The plea also said that the Parliament had no power to provide for pension benefits to lawmakers without making any law for the same.
- The Centre, however, justified the need for such perks and said that it was needed so as for retired MPs/MLAs to live with dignity after completing their tenure in Parliament. It was argued that there was no constitutional prohibition on the Parliament from adopting measures that extended social security to its former members.
- In an affidavit filed before the court by the Central Board of Direct Taxes, which probed allegations regarding increase of assets of 26 Lok Sabha and 11 Rajya Sabha MPs and 257 MLAs, the CBDT found discrepancies in the cases of 7 Lok Sabha MPs and 98 MLAs.
- 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.