Parliament has paid millions of rupees in arrears to MPs and former MPs in keeping with the recent parliamentary resolution to increase by over 100 per cent remunerations of the President, Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs, Speaker, Deputy Speaker and the Deputy Chairman of the Committees. The salary increase is effective from January 1, 2006.
The funds had been transferred shortly before five public sector trade unions filed fundamental rights violation application challenging the resolution. They requested court to declare the violation of their fundamental rights and to declare the resolution null and void.
According to the Parliamentary Pensions Law No 1 of 1977 there would be an automatic increase of MPs` pensions on every occasion of a salary increase of sitting MPs.
`This is an unprecedented scheme not practiced in any part of the world,` an official said. President J. R. Jayewardene established the non-contributory pension scheme, he said, adding that special categories had been created within the system for the benefit of pensioners.
The scheme accommodated those who entered the legislature after July 7, 1931. Any person who has served as an MP for a minimum of five years in the aggregate would be entitled to monthly payment of a pension amounting to one-third of the substantive monthly allowance currently payable to a member and a maximum of two-thirds if the pensioner has served as a MP for 15 years. Special provision had been made to determine the pension of an MP who has served for more than five years and less than 15 years.
The recent resolution to increase politicians` salaries was passed without any debate or division. The JVP and JHU backed the move jointly promoted by the ruling coalition and the UNP.
Union sources severely criticized the ruling coalition and the JVP for going ahead with the salary hike amidst intolerable rise of cost of living. JVP leaders should be ashamed, the sources said adding that there was absolutely no difference between the JVP and others. Several JVP MPs are getting closer to clearing the 15-year hurdle.
The trade unions said the increased monthly allowance of the Prime Minister was from Rs. 34,000 to Rs. 71,500. The increase of the monthly allowance of the Speaker was from Rs. 31,000 to Rs. 68,000, and the increases of the monthly allowance of the Leader of the Opposition and Ministers was from Rs. 29,815 to Rs. 65,000 Deputy Minister from Rs. 28,750 to Rs 63,500 and an MP was from Rs 22,100 to Rs. 54, 285.