MPLADS is not unconstitutional: Centre tells SC

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New Delhi, Nov 27 (UNI) The Union Government today asserted before the Supreme Court that MPLADS(Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme) is not unconstitutional and is conducive in achieving the target laid down by the Directive Principles of State Policy enshrined in the Constitution.

Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran, appearing for the Union Government, contended before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan that there are sufficient checks and balances to check the misuse of MPLAD scheme funds.

Under the scheme, an MP is authorised to spend Rs 2 crore for the welfare and development of his constituency and there is proposal to increase the amount from Rs 2 crore to Rs 5 crore.

An MLA or MLC can also spend Rs 1 crore in the development of his constituency.

The Constitution bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran, D K Jain, P Sathasivam and J M Panchal along with the CJI is hearing a batch of petitions seeking to abolish MPLAD scheme on the grounds that it is illegal and breeds corruption.

The Union Government is, however, defending the scheme on the grounds that such scheme promotes the welfare of the people of a constituency and the implementing authority of the project under the scheme is district adminstration and the scheme is being monitored by the two Parliamentary committees, one headed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha and the other headed by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, who is also the Vice-President of the country.

The amounts spent under the scheme are audited by the Accountant General of the concerned state.

Mr Parasaran also contended that if the scheme is declared null and void it will amount to striking down Article 282 of the Constitution.

The petitioners, who include Panthers Party Chief Bhim Singh are being represented by senior counsel K K Venugopal.

The arguments will resume on December 2.

UNI SC SV RP GC1948

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