The Centre may not axe a 145-year- old law that provides shield against attachment of pension of former Presidents, Supreme Court judges, Members of Parliament and lakhs of its retired employees.
The 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. The government has decided to axe over 1,000 such archaic laws.
However, the Act had to be excluded from the list of obsolete laws to be repealed as some of its provisions provide security to the pensioners against attachment of pension.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 scrap Pensions Act or to amend rules regulating various pensions given by them, according to minutes of the meeting.
The representative from Department of Financial Services (DFS) suggested that instead of amending a large number of Acts and rules to secure 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.
This proposal was supported by representatives of ministries of Home, Labour, Rural Development, Defence, Ministry of Railways and Department of Personnel and Training.
It was then decided that this suggestion will be placed before the competent authority, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he is incharge of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, for taking a decision in the matter, according to the minutes of the meeting.
Under the old law, pensions granted by the government shall not be liable to seizure, attachment or sequestration by process of any court.
During the meeting, the DFS officials mentioned that the pensions of President, Vice President, Ministers and Member of Parliament, etc, are regulated by various Acts of Parliament.
Similarly, pensions of Supreme Court, High Courts Judges, Central Vigilance Commissioners, Central Information Commissioners, Members of Union Public Service Commission, 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, 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Therefore, if the Pensions Act was to be repealed, then necessary amendments would need to be made in relevant laws of Parliament along with the other rules regulating various kinds of pension like Freedom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.
There are about 58 lakh central government pensioners.