The government on Friday took strong exception to the Supreme Court’s observation on pension for Members of Parliament (MPs), saying it was the sacrosanct right of the parliament to decide on the issue, giving an indirect message to the apex court not to stray into the domain of lawmakers.
Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar told the Lok Sabha that the issue of perks and pensions to MPs are given as per provision of the law and it is in the exclusive domain of the parliament.
“I think every member of the House agrees that the right of the House is sacrosanct. Parliament has every right to decide about salaries and allowances of the MPs,” he said.
He told speaker Sumitra Mahajan that “the entire House is with you on the matter.”
Kumar’s response came after a number of opposition MPs raised the issue of the Supreme Court’s reported comments that 80% of former law markers are ‘crorepatis’ (millionaires).
On Thursday, finance minister Arun Jaitley said in the Rajya Sabha that the parliament alone had the authority to decide on how much pension the MPs can draw and inter-institutional discipline had to be respected.
Raising the issue during the zero hour, TMC MP Saugata Roy said while the apex court was transgressing its rights, the parliament was not asking why former judges were being given pension.
“The Supreme Court is transgressing its rights. It is an exclusive right of the parliament to decide on the issue. We are not asking why SC judges are being paid pension. We should take a stand on the issue,” he said.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday reportedly said pension and perks to MPs seemed prima facie unreasonable and had sought responses from the Centre and the Election Commission of India on a plea seeking the scrapping of pension and other perks being given to MPs.
A bench headed by justice J Chelameswar had issued notices to the secretary general of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha on the plea filed by NGO Lok Prahari on the issue.