The Centre is considering to amend an 145-year-old law that provides security to the pensioners against attachment of pension. There are about 58 lakh central government pensioners.
The matter to Pensions Act, 1871 has been under consideration for past some time past in accordance with the policy of the central government to repeal obsolete laws.
However, this Act had to be excluded from the list of the obsolete laws to be repealed as some of its provisions provide security to the pensioners against attachment of pension.
A meeting was recently called by Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions to elicit views of select ministries on the proposal to amend the rules regulating various types of pension administered by them to ensure continuance of shield as provided under the 1871 Act, according to minutes of the meeting.
The move to call the meeting was to facilitate repealing of the old Act, it said.
The representative from Department of Financial Services (DFS) suggested that instead of amending a large number of Acts and rules to secure those pensions against attachment, the existing Pensions Act, 1871 may be amended to repeal only those provisions in the Act which have since become irrelevant or redundant.
The proposal of amendment of the pension act was supported by representatives of ministries of Home, Labour, Rural Development, Defence, Ministry of Railways and Department of Personnel and Training.
Under the old law, no pension granted or continued by government on political considerations, or on account of past services, present infirmities or as a compassionate allowance, and no money due on account of any such pension or allowance, shall be liable to seizure, attachment or sequestration by process of any court at the instance of a creditor,for any demand against the pensioner, or in satisfaction of a decree or order of any such court.
It was then decided that this suggestion will be placed before the competent authority for taking a decision in the matter, the minutes read.
During the meeting, the DFS officials mentioned that the existing Pensions Act is applicable to pensions admissible under a large number of rules and Acts of Parliament.
He said that the pensions of President, Vice President, Ministers and Member of Parliament etc. are regulated by the Acts of Parliament. Similarly, the pensions of Supreme Court, High Courts Judges, Central Vigilance Commissioners, Central Information Commissioners, Members of Union Public Service Commission, etc. are also granted pension under the Acts regulating their service conditions.
These Acts of Parliament also do not contain provisions securing the pension against attachment, assignment etc, it said.
Therefore, if the Pensions Act was to be repealed, then necessary amendments would need to be made in relevant laws of Parliament along with the other rules regulating various kinds of pension like Freedom Fighter Pension etc. being administered by concerned Ministries, the minutes of the meeting said.