The Kerala High Court on Thursday declined to interfere in a PIL challenging the rules for appointment of personal staff of ministers and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, saying it is a policy matter of the government.
A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly also rejected the demand to end the grant of pension and family pension to personal staff of ministers and opposition leader. Disposing of a batch of pleas, the court, however, observed that a limit should be fixed in the appointment of personal staff of the chief minister, ministers, chief whip and Leader of Opposition.
The pleas claimed that the state government was spending at least Rs 80 crore per annum on the pension of such staff besides other benefits which would increase this amount by another Rs 10 crore.
In addition to that, the government was also spending at least Rs 40 crore every year on salaries and travel fare of the personal staff, one of the pleas had claimed.
It had contended that neither the Centre nor any of the other states in country were giving pension and family pension to personal staff and only Kerala was doing this.
The pleas were filed in the wake of Kerala Governor Arif Mohammed Khan raising the issue of personal staff of ministers being eligible for pension after two years of service.
The Governor had termed the practice of giving pension to personal staff of ministers just after completing two years as a gross violation and abuse of authority and misuse and abuse of money of the people of Kerala.