The Supreme Court today agreed to examine the constitutional validity of laws granting pension and other perks to retired MPs and sought responses from the Centre and Election Commission of India on the issue.

A bench comprising Justices J Chelameswar and E S Abdul Nazeer said it would hear the matter in detail and also issued notices to the Secretary General of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the plea filed by an NGO seeking scrapping of pension and other perks to MPs.

The top court also allowed the plea of Delhi-based think-tank Association for Democratic Reforms that it be made a party to the case and posted the matter for hearing after four weeks.

The top court was hearing an appeal filed by NGO 'Lok Prahari' against the Allahabad High Court order dismissing its plea alleging that pension and other perks being given to MPs even after demitting office are contrary to Article 14 (Right to Equality) of the Constitution.
The plea also said that Parliament has no power to provide for pensionary benefits to lawmakers without making any law.

"Salaries, allowances and pension of the Members of Parliament Act, 1954 was enacted in pursuance of Article 106 of the Constitution. The Legislature through amendments made to the salaries, allowances and pension of the Members of Parliament Act, 1954, has legislated to provide for pension and other facilities to the former members of the Parliament including their spouses, dependents and companions.

"Article 106 does not permit provision for pension or facilities to persons other than MPs. The following said provisions of the Act are ultra vires of the provisions of Article 106 of the Constitution," the NGO said.

The NGO alleged pension and other amenities granted to ex-MPs were "unreasonable and sought withdrawal of such facilities while questioning various provisions of the law framed by Parliament.

"While the Governors do not have the facility of pension at all, an MP even for a day and his spouse get pension for life. While even serving judges of the Supreme Court and high courts do not have the facility of free air/train travel for their spouses even on official tours, ex-MPs enjoy unlimited free train travel for life in AC-II with a companion 365 days a year," the petition said.

"This has resulted in the obnoxious situation where a former MP becomes an unwarranted burden on the citizens as it it is their birthright to fleece the public whom they no longer represent. It has made politics the most lucrative profession," it said.

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