PUNJAB MPS’ PENSION ACT SHOULD BE FURTHER AMENDED TO AVOID POSSIBLE MISINTERPRETATION OF THE RECENT AMENDMENT ON ONE-TERM PENSION STANDARD

EXPERT VIEW

FEW EX-MPS HAVE APPLIED TO THE HIGH COURT TO CHALLENGE THE RETROSPECTIVE OPERATION OF THE AMENDMENT ACT WHICH LEADS TO A DRASTIC REDUCTION IN THEIR PREVIOUS PENSION AMOUNT, THE STATE LEGISLATURE HAS THE POWER TO NOT ONLY REDUCE BUT EVEN WITHDRAW THE PENSION OF FORMER MPS BY AMENDING THE RELEVANT LAW AS THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA IS SILENT ON GRANTING PENSION TO FORMER LEGISLATORS: HEMANT KUMAR

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On September 16, 2022, a divisional bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli issued a Notice of Motion which may be returned by January 17, 2023 to the State of Punjab and others on a Civil Writ (CWP) petition filed by some ex-Punjab MPs Vidhan Sabha who challenged a recent amendment to Section 3 of the Members of Legislature Act 1977 of the Punjab State (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulations) (abbreviated Punjab MPs Pension Act) which now provides that it shall be paid to every person, who remained a member (read of the Legislature of the State of Punjab), a pension of sixty thousand rupees per mensem plus a dearness allowance (eligible to retirees of the Punjab government), regardless of the number of terms he had served as a member and regardless of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha mandates, including he had been a member.

The aforementioned amendment to ibid Punjab MLAs Pension Law of 1977 was brought about by the passage of the Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2022 by the Punjab State Assembly in June this year , which later received the assent of the Governor of Punjab. on August 4, 2022 and thereafter it was published on August 11, 2022 in the Official State Gazette. In accordance with article 1, paragraph 2, of the above amending law, it enters into force from the date of its publication in the Official Journal.

Hemant is of the opinion whether for any reason, whether as a result of the language employed in the aforementioned Amendment Act 2022 or otherwise, it is argued or argued that the one-term pension standard for ex -MLAS in Punjab would not have retroactive effect and that it applies prospectively i.e. with effect from August 11, 2022 then the same is a clear misinterpretation of the ibid amendment act and the same clearly goes against the very purpose and spirit of this amendment.

Meanwhile, a barrister in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Hemant Kumar, said that prior to the above amendment of Section 3 of the 1977 Act, anyone who remained a member of the Punjab State Legislative Assembly received a pension of fifteen thousand rupees per mensem. plus dearness allowance, as receivable for retirees of the Punjab government, for the first term, and an additional ten thousand rupees plus dearness allowance, as receivable for retirees of the Punjab government for each subsequent term, irrespective of mandates of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha, in which he had been an MP.

However, before and after the amendment, it was provided and still exists that after reaching the age of 65, 75 and 80, each former MP is entitled to an increase of five per cent, ten per cent one hundred and fifteen percent. respectively of the basic pension.

Anyway, some former MPs (of course those who remained MPs for more than one term) raise the fact that since the recent amendment of the Punjab MPs Pension Act only came into effect ‘from 11 August 2022, i.e. from the date of its publication in the Official Gazette in accordance with section 1(2) of the above Amendment Act 2022, therefore, the amount of their former pension cannot be reduced / reduced as a result of the application of the one-term pension standard for all former MPs, regardless of their term of office which is nevertheless on the agenda of the AAP waiver in power.

In the midst of all this, Hemant is of the opinion whether for any reason due to the language employed in the aforementioned 2022 Amendment Act or otherwise, it is argued or discussed that the pension standard at a term for the old MLAS in Punjab would not have retroactive effect and that it applies prospectively, i.e. from 11 August 2022, so does a clear misinterpretation of the ibid amendment law and this clearly goes against the very purpose and spirit of such an amendment.

Therefore, Hemant publicly appealed to CM Bhagwant Mann that, notwithstanding the fact that the High Court is currently seized of the case regarding the recent amendment of the Punjab MPs Pension Act, as to date, only a notice of motion has been issued and in particular no stay of any kind has been granted by the Court, therefore, the AAP Government should have the Punjab MPs Pension Act 1977 amended by the State Assembly , where it commands an overwhelming majority, explicitly providing in the act itself that “On and from the application of the Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation) Amendment Act, 2022, the pension of every then existing former member of the Punjab State Legislature (MLA) shall be reviewed in accordance with the provision provided by this Amendment Act”, i.e. irrespective of whether a person has was a member of the Legislative Assembly ative of the state of Punjab for how many terms she will receive pension for single term as provided by 2022 A Amendment Act.

Hemant also shares an interesting point (read constitutional) that granting a pension not only to former deputies of any state legislature in our country, but also to former deputies (deputies) is only sanctity statutory (legal) and unconstitutional since both in Article 106 (relating to MPs) and Article 195 (relating to MPs/MLC) of the Constitution of India, there is mention of salary and wages respectively allowances of deputies and members of state legislatures. The pension provision for former MPs was made in 1976 by Parliament through an amendment to the MPs’ Salaries and Allowances Act 1954, more than two decades after enactment of this law.

Similarly, in the case of the State of Punjab, the relevant law for granting the pension to former MPs, viz. The Members of the Punjab State Legislative Assembly (Regulation of Pensions and Medical Institutions) Act 1977 was enacted by the Punjab State Assembly and came into force in May 1977. By Therefore, the granting of a pension to former MPs is a legal right and not a constitutional obligation.

In other words, if the incumbent Bhagwant Mann led by the AAP government takes the decision to withdraw even completely the pension given to former Punjab MPs, he may very well do the same by repealing the Punjab MPs Pension Act aforementioned of 1977 itself via the State Assembly. . The same would not be unconstitutional since the Constitution of India is silent on granting pension to former legislators.

(These opinions are those of a lawyer from Punjab and the High Court of Haryana)

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