New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday March 14 orally criticised the Kerala government over the practice of life-long pension for personal staff of ministers after just 2 years in service.
The top court made this observation while declining to entertain a plea by Kerala State Road Transportation Corporation (KSRTC) challenging the decision taken by state-owned marketing oil companies, in connection with increase in fuel prices for the bulk purchasers.
A bench of Justices Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari observed that Kerala has enough money to pay lifetime pension to persons engaged for just two years with ministers.
“Please tell your state, if they can do that, why can’t they do this? Please convey this,” the bench said.
The counsel for KSRTC submitted that the differential price was being charged from the corporation which was above the market rate, and there was a difference of Rs 7 per litre, even though there was an agreement.
The bench asked the counsel to move the plea before the Kerala High Court. “They can handle it,” it said.
The corporation argued that they moved the top court due to the “manifestly discriminatory, arbitrary and unreasonable decision” of the state-owned oil marketing companies to increase the price of diesel sold in bulk, only to the petitioner, which is significantly higher than even the market price of diesel, which is violative of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
The plea contended that this decision is further burdening the corporation, which is already suffering exponential financial crisis year after year.
The plea said: “As per the prevailing general principles of businesses across the globe, bulk purchasers get discounts from the sellers in comparison to the retail prices because the seller saves a considerable amount of money. However, in the present case, despite saving a huge amount of money in terms of agency commissions and logistical expenses, the state-owned OMCs are not selling the diesel in bulk as per the present retail market rate to the petitioner corporation.”