MLAs can only recommend work, execution by state agency, says SC

New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday said that lawmakers in Uttar Pradesh assembly would only recommend the work of a developmental nature in their constituencies under the Vidhayak Nidhi Scheme but its execution would be by a body of the state government.

“The role of the elected representatives would be to recommend the work of a developmental nature in their constituencies within the budget allotted under the Vidhayak Nidhi Scheme,” said the bench of Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, Justice D.Y.Chandrachud and Justice A.M. Khanwilkar in their judgment.

Holding that Vidhayak Nidhi Scheme was not offending constitutional provisions, Justice Chandrachud, pronouncing the judgment, said: “The feasibility of the work, estimate of funds, selection of the implementing agency and supervision of work must be independently determined by a nominated authority or body of the state government”.

The court said this while disposing a petition by NGO Lok Prahari seeking to put an end to the misuse of funds under the Vidhayak Nidhi Scheme by some lawmakers in Uttar Pradesh.

It was alleged that lawmakers were spending funds under the Scheme for helping institutions promoted by their kith and kin or acquaintances and not for general good of the public.

Directing the implementation of the recommended work by an independent agency, the court said that “panchayati raj institutions in rural areas and municipal bodies in urban areas may be considered as preferred implementing agencies … and that “sufficient safeguards should be provided to ensure against conflicts of interest such as the allocation of funds to institutions controlled by an elected representative or a member of his or her family”.

It further said that the safeguards should also include “financial transparency, such as proper supervision of work, monitoring quality and timely completion besides procedures to ensure proper audit and utilisation of funds”.