MPLADS constitutionally valid, says Supreme Court

Posted By: Staff
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New Delhi, May 6 (ANI): In landmark judgement, the Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the constitutional validity of the MP's Local Area Development (MPLAD) Fund.

A Constitutional Bench of the apex court consisting Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran, D K Jain, P Sathasivam and J M Panchal delivered the judgement while setting aside a petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party president Prof Bhim Singh.

In his petition, Singh had questioned the constitutional validity of the MPLAD fund and stated that the MPLAD fund has lead to a lot of corruption.

In 1999, the MPLADS was challenged on the ground that it intruded into the autonomy and functioning of local authorities - village panchayats and municipalities - created under a constitutional amendment.

In 2006, a three-Judge Bench had referred the matter to a five-Judge Constitution Bench saying important questions of law needed to be settled.

After pending adjudication for years, a constitution Bench of the apex court had reserved its verdict in November 2009 on the issue.

The Court had to conduct some more hearings after the Union Government requested permission to make more submissions.

Under the MPLAD Fund, members of both Lok Sabha and Rjya Sabha gets two crore in each fiscal, which could be used for both planned as well as unplanned projects.

The MPLAD Fund was the brainchild of the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao. In 1993, Rao's Government allotted one crore to each MPs for development activities in their respective constituency.

In 1998, the NDA Government led by A B Vajpayee hiked the MPLAD fund to two crore.

In April this year, the Planning Commission had rejected the proposal of some MPs to enhance MPLAD funds to Rs five crore from Rs two crore.

The scheme had come under judicial scrutiny in the wake of a sting operation "Duryo-Dhan" in 2005 that had shown some MPs demanding money from contractors to award work for projects under MPLAD scheme.

The expose had led to the expulsion of the members from both the Houses of Parliament.

The MPLAD scheme was in the news also in 2006 following allegations that trusts run by Election Commissioner Navin Chawla's family got funds from the scheme. (ANI)

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