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MP local area funds under SC scanner

Posted Jan 07 2009 4:31pm

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has begun examining the legality of allocating approximately Rs1,600 crore annually to parliamentarians to help them undertake developmental activities in their constituencies.

A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, began examining the legality of what is commonly known as Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) Funds on a plea by Panthers Party's Chief Bhim Singh.

Appearing for Singh, senior counsel KK Venugopal asserted before the bench that the Rs 2 crore annual corpuses for each MP is illegal simply because Indian Parliament has never enacted any law to back the monetary scheme, reports IANS.

Pointing out the constitutional provisions that bar the government from spending a single paisa from the public exchequer without due budgetary mandate of parliament, Venugopal said the government cannot even make a law to back the development funds scheme for the parliamentarians.

He explained to the bench that the constitution lays down a definite method for the government to spend any money from the public exchequer, but the expenditure under MPLADS Funds is not covered by any constitutional scheme.

Venugopal said that the MPLAD Scheme was started in 1993-94 and has already consumed a staggering sum of over Rs 90,000 crore.

Initially this scheme permitted a grant of Rs 5 lakh to each MP. But in the very next year of its implementation in 1994-95, the amount was increased to Rs one crore and in 1997-98 it was again increased to Rs two crore. He said that a proposal was now underway to increase this to Rs five crore.
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