SC upholds Constitutional validity of MPLAD Scheme

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the Constitutional validity of the MPLAD scheme under which MPs are allocated Rs two crore annually for development of their constituencies, saying it cannot be scrapped merely because of allegations of misuse by some MPs.

Last Updated: May 06, 2010, 20:58 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld
the Constitutional validity of the MPLAD scheme under which
MPs are allocated Rs two crore annually for development of
their constituencies, saying it cannot be scrapped merely
because of allegations of misuse by some MPs.

In an unanimous verdict, a five-judge Constitution
bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said there are
"sufficient checks and balances" to prevent misuse of the
scheme.

"Mere allegation of misuse of the funds under the
Scheme by some MPs by itself may not be a ground for it`s
scrapping as checks and safeguards have been provided.
Parliament has the power to enquire and take appropriate
action against the erring members," the Bench, also comprising
Justices R V Raveendran, D K Jain, P Sathasivam and J M
Panchal, said.

The court rejected the contention of the opponents of
the scheme that the sitting MPs have clear edge over their
rivals as the funds in hand they can spend or promise more.

"This argument is liable to be rejected as it is not
based on any scientific analysis or empirical data. We also
find this argument a half-hearted attempt to contest the
constitutionality of the scheme," Justice Sathasivam, writing
the judgement for the Bench, said.

"MPLADS makes funds available to sitting MPs for
developmental work and if MPs utilized the funds properly, it
would result in his better performance. If that leads to
people voting for the incumbent candidate, it certainly does
not violate any principle of free and fair elections," the
Bench said dismissing the argument that the scheme violates
the democratic principle of free and fair elections.

The Bench pointed out that the role of MPs in the
implementation of the scheme is only recommendatory in nature
and the scheme is beneficial for community development and
creation of assets at the grass-root level.

"The Scheme concentrates on community development and
creation of assets at the grass-root level and in such
circumstances, the same cannot be interfered with by the
courts without reasonable grounds," the Bench said in its
83-page verdict.

"We hold that impugned MPLAD Scheme is valid and intra
vires of the Constitution," it said about the Scheme which was
launched by the then Prime Minister P V Narshimha Rao on
December 23, 1993.

The scheme had come under judicial scrutiny after a
sting operation in 2005 showed some MPs allegedly demanding
money from contractors to award work for projects under it.
The expose had led to the expulsion of members from both
Houses of Parliament.

PTI