The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has decided against scrapping a 145-year-old law, which exempts pension from being “attached or sequestered”, though a bill seeking its abrogation from statute book has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.
Earlier, the DoPT had asked the Law Ministry to include the Pensions Act, 1871 in the repealing bill so it could be removed from the statute book. One of the key provisions of the law is that it exempts pension from attachment by any court. But later, it wrote to the Law Ministry to remove the Act from the repealing bill.
After its passage in the Lok Sabha, the Repealing and Amending (Third) Bill, 2015 is pending in the Rajya Sabha.
The Law Ministry is the nodal agency for repealing laws which have lost relevance today.
A senior government functionary said that perhaps the realisation that there is no other law in the country which protects pensions led to decision against scrapping the Act.
After the DoPTs request, the Law Ministry approached the Union Cabinet to clear an official amendment to remove the Pensions Act from the repealing bill.
On March 23, the Union Cabinet cleared the official amendments, paving way for the passage of the bill in the upper house. After being cleared by the Rajya Sabha, the bill will travel back to the Lok Sabha to clear the official amendments.
Section 11 of the Act states that “No Pension granted or continued by government on political considerations, or on account of past services or present infirmities or as a compassionate allowance, and no money due or to become 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.”
Another official amendment cleared by the Union Cabinet relates to the Appropriation Acts (Repeal) Bill, 2015. The bill, cleared by the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha, seeks to repeal The Punjab Appropriation Act among other laws. But the Punjab Appropriation Act has already been repealed by the Punjab Legislative Assembly and “inadvertently” became part of the Appropriation (Acts) Repeal Bill, 2015.
The two bills seek to scrap a total of 1,053 Acts which have become redundant and are clogging the statute books.