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Parliament has right to decide on members’ salaries: Govt

The Government has asserted “it is the sacrosanct right of Parliament” to decide on the perks and salaries of its members. Parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar’s statement in the Lok Sabha on Friday came two days after the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Election Commission and the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha secretariats on whether those who have been legislators for a single day were entitled to pensions and allowances. 

“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 MPs,” Kumar said and many MPs in the House approved his stand. “The entire House is with you on this issue,” he added as a remark to the Speaker, the custodian of the House. 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley too made a similar statement in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday. Both were responding to some MPs who pointed out to the Supreme Court notice following a petition filed by an NGO. 

Raising the issue in the Lower House, Trinamool congress member Saugata alleged that while the apex court was “transgressing” its rights, Parliament was not asking why former judges were being given pension. 

“The Supreme Court is transgressing its rights. It is an exclusive right of 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. 

After hearing preliminary arguments by NGO Lok Prahari, whose plea was rejected by the Allahabad High Court earlier, Justice Jasti Chelameswar had said on Wednesday that the court could not do much about pensionary entitlements of legislators but would address the unstructured nature of the allowances they were entitled to. 

Justice Chelameswar said there was nothing in wrong in former lawmakers getting some sort of pension but the court would ensure that some sort of norms and guidelines were laid down on entitlement to all allowances even after legislators had lost their seats.

Source : The Economic Times