House upset over SC notice on MPs’ pay, perks

RSTV Bureau

Juvenile-Justice-Bill-in-Rajya-SabhaThe Upper House on Thursday witnessed angry members taking up the recent developments in Supreme Court, once again bringing forth the issue of supremacy of Parliament and separation of powers between the judiciary and the executives.

The matter began with Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agarwal telling the house about Supreme Court’s notice to the government seeking response on the petition demanding scrapping of pension and other perks being given to MPs.

Raising the issue, through a point-of-order, Agarwal contended that the image of the MPs is being sullied as if they are appropriating huge public monies as salaries and pension without working.

He said some former MPs are living “a pauper’s life”, with the children of a former law maker in Uttar Pradesh working as labourers and artisan.

Joining the issue, senior Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said he was astonished to read that a survey had found that 80 per cent of the ex-MPs were millionaires.

At this point, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien asked Ramesh to not to criticise the judiciary and instead seek remedy through legal course.

File photo of Supreme Court of India.

File photo of Supreme Court of India.

Leader of the House and Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley too joined the issue and said that the Parliament alone has the authority to approve how public money is to be spent and it alone can legislate on how much pension MPs can draw.

“It is an unquestionably clear constitutional position that public money can be spent only after authorisation of Parliament. Therefore, Parliament only can authorise how public money can be spent. No other insitution can exercise that power,” he said.

“It is the exclusive domain of Parliament” to decide who is entitled to government pension and how much, he said, adding, this is the constitutional position “which all institution will have to eventually accept.”

The subject of separation of power also echoed in Lok Sabha yesterday with Union Law Minster Ravi Shankar Prasad underlining that supremacy of power in law-making is undisputable.

The Supreme Court had on Tuesday reportedly said the pension and perks to MPs seemed ‘prima facie’ unreasonable and had sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission of India on a PIL filed by the NGO Lok Prahari.

The apex court bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar had also issued notices to the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.