Legal validity of MP local area development scheme upheld (Lead)May 6th, 2010 - 1:18 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the validity of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS), saying it was for public good, but felt its working could be improved.
“We hold the MPLAD scheme is valid. We have no reason to interfere,” said a unanimous verdict of a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan that also comprised Justices D.K. Jain, R.V. Raveendran, P. Sathasivam and J.M. Panchal.
“The mere allegations of misuse of funds under the scheme was not enough to scrap it,” said the court, adding: “Improvement could be made in the working of the scheme.”
The judgment written by Justice Sathasivam rejected the contention that the scheme gave an unfair advantage to the sitting member of parliament vis-Ã -vis his rival. The judgment said the scheme gave “no extra advantage to the sitting member of parliament”.
Under the scheme, elected members of parliament can recommend developmental works for implementation in one or more districts of their state. Nominated members of the Rajya Sabha, the upper house, can recommend such works in any district in the country.
Funds released under the scheme to the district authority by the government of India don’t lapse. Therefore, funds left for any district can be carried forward for being utilised in subsequent years, the guidelines specify.
In 1993-94, when the scheme was launched, an amount of Rs.500,000 annually per member of parliament was allotted, which became Rs.1 crore per annum from 1994-95. This was stepped up to Rs.2 crore from 1998-99.
As on March 30, a total of 21,367.48 crore has been cumulatively sanctioned since the inception of the scheme. Of this, the expenditure incurred amounted to Rs.19,231.77 crore. The total utilisation, thus, stood at 91.7 percent.
In the past year, the funds released amounted to Rs.1,073 crore.
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Tags: annum, chief justice, constitution bench, contention, crore, development scheme, government of india, jain, k g balakrishnan, legal validity, member of parliament, members of parliament, rajya sabha, raveendran, rs 1, rs 2, rs 500, unanimous verdict, unfair advantage, upper house