South Asian Insider
MPs fixing salaries themselves a moral, ethical issue: Supreme Court
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said that parliamentarians determining their salary and perks themselves was an "moral" and "ethical issue" and sought for data on how much amount was spent on pension and other facilities provided to former lawmakers.
The apex court observed this while hearing a petition which has raised several questions including how MPs could themselves determine their salaries and perks and also sought scrapping of pension to them.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told a bench comprising justices J Chelameswar and Sanjay Kishan Kaul that the Finance Bill 2018 contained provisions regarding salary and pension of MPs and also about revision of their allowances after every five years starting from 1 April 2023 on the basis of cost inflation index.
Venugopal also referred to a judgement by a five-judge constitution bench of the apex court and said that the issues raised in the petitions were already being dealt with by the larger bench.
Regarding the court's query on setting up of an independent mechanism for determination of salaries and allowances of the MPs, the Attorney General said that elaborate procedure was already being followed for fixing the salary.
During the hearing, when an advocate representing one of the petitioners raised the issue of "burden on the exchequer" due to payment of pension and entitlement of several other facilities to former MPs, the bench asked, "Do you have any data of how much amount has been spent on it?"
The lawyer said that they would place the data in this regard before the apex court.
The counsel also contended that even after death of an MP, his or her family members were entitled to pension for life.
When the issue of MPs determining their salaries themselves was raked up, the bench said, "it is a moral, ethical issue. The second is propriety issue that they fix it (salary) themselves".
The bench also dealt with the arguments advanced by the petitioners that pension was given to a MP even if he or she was elected to the House only for a day. It observed that several MPs have got successive tenures in the Parliament and they have dedicated their "whole life".
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