Breaking News SC dismisses plea against suspension of MPLADS scheme for...

SC dismisses plea against suspension of MPLADS scheme for 2 years by the centre and transferring the funds for Covid 19 pandemic


New Delhi, Oct 6 (ILNS) The Supreme Court today dismissed a plea against the Centre suspending Members of Parliament Local Area Development funds scheme in April last year for 2 years to use the funds for the crisis during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Special Leave Petition was filed by a practising lawyer, Neelima Vartak against the order of the Bombay High Court.
The petitioner filed a Writ Petition in Bombay High Court challenging the circular
issued by Joint Secretary (MPLADS) to the Government of India, Ministry of
Statistics and Programme Implementation. By the said circular, further, release
of instalments of the MPLAD Scheme was suspended for two years, i.e., during FY
2020-21 and FY 2021-22, bearing in mind the challenges faced by the entire nation
due to the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and its adverse impact on the society
requiring pooling of all available physical, financial, medical, technological and other
A bench presided by Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and
Justice Hima Kohli asked, “if the MPs themselves are not aggrieved with the
suspension and this country don’t have any grievance, then what is your problem? Why are you challenging this? High Court has rightly dismissed the petition”
Circular was based on the requests received from Members of Parliament
for including facilities for medical testing and screening under the MPLAD Scheme in
order to bolster the ongoing fight against the pandemic caused by COVID-19. In such
context, the Ministry decided that the District Authority may utilize MPLAD Scheme
funds on medical testing, screening and other facilities required to detect and contain
COVID-19 and that it had been decided to grant one-time dispensation under the
MPLAD Scheme for purchase/installation of the items mentioned therein by relaxing
the guidelines in the manner suggested and following the procedure detailed therein.

The petitioner submitted that the necessary fallout is that the MPLAD Scheme funds
would be utilized to combat the pandemic arising out of COVID-19 and not exactly
for the purposes, the same is intended and by the way of the writ petition in Bombay
High Court, the petitioner seeks directions to the Government of India to resume the
MPLAD Scheme so that the funds could be used for the purposes intended, which
may include protection of citizens from the adverse effect of the pandemic as well as
funding programmes and projects to contain the spread of the virus.

The High court while expressing its view had submitted that “the decision of the
concerned ministry to suspend the MPLAD Scheme would adversely affect the MPs
because such suspension obviously entails suspension of developmental works in
their respective constituency. Any MP could have approached the Court if he/she
were aggrieved by the suspension of the MPLAD Scheme…… It is only the petitioner
who has come forward to question the suspension, for reasons best known to her.
Had the petitioner espoused a cause of genuine public interest, the Court would not
have sat back and declined interference.”

Under MP Local Area Development scheme, MPs can recommend the development
programmes involving the spending of Rs 5 crore every year in their constituencies.
The Bombay High Court while dismissing Vartak’s plea December last year said: “In
the current unprecedented situation when the Union and state governments were
trying their best to secure adequate healthcare for people, any opposition to such
efforts must be “nipped in the bud”./ILNS/KR/SNG


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