As many as six former MLAs today moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court following “reduction in the pensions drawn by them”. Challenging the government’s “one MLA-one pension” measure, Rakesh Pandey and other former legislators submitted the retrospective operation of the amendment, through an impugned letter, had reduced the pension already being drawn by them which was much higher than the lump sum amount now fixed by it.
The Bench of Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha and Justice Arun Palli was also told that the impugned administrative or legislative action would have two-fold consequences. Their pension accrued over multiple terms had been reduced to a lump sum of Rs 60,000. Besides this, further accruals and additions would not be admissible for the subsequent terms. This, the petitioners submitted, had the effect of equating “unequal persons”. Elaborating, they contended it failed to classify between MLAs, who had served for longer and shorter durations.
“Additionally, the impugned measures equate persons who have served as legislators for multiple terms and put them on the same pedestal with someone who has just served as an MLA for merely one term. Such an action, either taken administratively or legislatively, will be wholly arbitrary and violative of Article 14 of the Constitution,” it was added.
The Bench was also told that the measures delinked the connection between pensionary entitlements of a former legislator from the number of terms served.