SC flays Kerala govt over “life-long pension” scheme after 2 yrs. of service with minister

SC flays Kerala govt over “life-long pension” scheme after 2 yrs. of services

SC flays Kerala govt over “life-long pension” scheme after 2 yrs. of services

Kerala Governor Arif Md. Khan has been opposing it for quite sometime

New Delhi, March 14 (Delhi Crown): The Supreme Court of India came down heavily on the Communists-led Kerala government over its policy to grant “life-long pension” to persons appointed as the personal staff of ministers in the state government.

The policy has been consistently criticised by Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan for quite long.

“You are the only state where persons are only appointed by minister for 2 years & give them a life-long pension. Please tell your state, if they can do that, why can’t they do this?”, the Supreme Court orally observed while refusing to entertain a writ petition by Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) challenging decisions taken by the state-owned oil marketing companies relating to increase in fuel prices sold to bulk purchasers.

Referring to a media report, an SC bench further said, “It’s the only state where even the minister appoints persons for two years and they get full pension throughout their life. Tell your government, we read today in the newspaper. You are the only state where they are only appointed for 2 years & they get a life-long pension. Please tell your state, if they can do that, why can’t they do this? Please convey this. Today Indian Express carries this. Very High Authorities of your state have said this.”

The issue of ensuring life-long pension to personal staff of Kerala ministers has been challenged before the state’s High Court. A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is pending before the Kerala High Court challenging the manner of appointment of personal staff to ministers in the state, and the consequent pension benefits provided to them despite having served only a couple of years in office.

Since April 1984, the personal staff were made eligible for a pension through a special rule issued by virtue of a decision of the state cabinet.

It was also decided that up to 25 individuals can be appointed in the personal staff of a minister, Leader of Opposition and Chief Whip, and Chief Minister to the tune of 35 personal staff. It is alleged in the petition that the minimum pension for personal staff is Rs 3550.

If the person has two-and-a-half years of service, he will receive this amount for the rest of his life along with 7% DA and gratuity as per the rules. The maximum pension for personal staff is Rs 83,400, the same as that of government employees.

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