1. Whether a former member of the Punjab Legislative Assembly who has served for a total period of four years and nine months but less than five years in two separate terms would be entitled to pension and medical benefits under the Punjab State legislature Members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation Act, 1977, 'is the solitary question raised in this writ petition. We are of the view that on the plain reading of the statute, the answer must be rendered in the negative.
2. Admittedly Sathi Roop Lal petitioner had served for a total period of 4 years 10 months and 18 days in two terms as under:--
i) From 13-3-1969 to 13-6-1971;
ii) From 1-7-1979 to 16-2-1980
He laid to a pension under Section 3 Punjab State Legislature Members (Pension and Medical facilities Regulation) Act 1977 (hereinafter called the act) This was considered with meticulous care by the secretary of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha and by his detailed order, Annexure P.3 he rejected the claim on the ground that the total period of the two terms of the writ petitioners as a member of the Sabha fell short of the term of five years prescribed in Section 3(1) of the act. Since the issues turns on the plains constructions of the section 3 (1) as amended by the Punjab state Legislation Members (Pension and Medical Facilities regulation) Amendment Bill 1979, it is opt to quote the same:--
'3 (1). From the date of commencement of this act, there shall be paid to every person who has served as a member for a period of five years, whether continuous or not, a pension of three hundred rupees per mensem
(1) where a person has served as member for full term of a Legislative Assembly but that term falls short of five years by a period not exceeding three months such person shall, for the purposes of sub-section (1), be deemed to have served as a member for a period of five years.
Provided that where any person has served as aforesaid for a period exceeding five years, there shall be paid to him an additional pension of fifty rupees per mensem for every year in excess of five so, however, that in no case the pension payable to such person shall exceed five hundred rupees per mensem'. Learned counsel for the petitioner had attempted to place tenuous reliance on the subsequently inserted provisions of sub-section (1-A) for contending that even if the total period in two terms fell short at five years by a period not exceeding three months, a member would be entitled:o a pension. We are unable to agree. It is, plain that the case of members, who have served no more than one terms is squarely and completely covered by subsection (1) of section 3. This inflexibly provides for a period of five years whether continuous or not Sub section (1-a) on which reliance is sought to be placed by the petitioner in express terms is applicable only where a member had served a for a full term of the legislature assembly but that term that falls short of five years by a period of not intended to cover the case which is not unusual of the dissolution of the Vidhan Sabha some times prior to the completion for its full time for general election. The use of the specific words 'for a full term' obviates its applicability to a case where a member has served not a full term of the Legislative Assembly at but small periods of time in more than one term. This is actually manifest by the Statement of objects and Reasons appended to the amending Bill of' 1979
'In order to maintain the dignity and respect of the ex-members d the Punjab Legislative Assembly, the Punjab Legislative Council and the Legislative Assembly of the erstwhile State of Patiala and East Punjab States Union and also to save them from the Sa l the Punjab' State Legislature members (Pension and Medical Facilities Regulation).Act, 1977, was enacted. But that Act did not. cover the cases of.those members who had served for the full term of the Legislative Assembly but that term fell. short of five years' by not more than. three months. It is also necessary to make a Provision for such members as well.
3. Now viewed in the aforesaid context of the legislative history, it appears to be plain. that as originally enacted the statute had the clear intent of prescribing a minimum period of five years for eligibility for pension. It is equally not in dispute that the full term of a Legislative Assembly visualised by the-Act is fixed by the Constitution to be five years. The working, the Act, however; brought to. the fore the fact. that Legislative Assembly am sometimes 'dissolved. a little before. the Period of. Five years for. the purposes Of the next general. elections. The amendment OP.1979 was, therefore, necessitated primarily for the cases of those members who had virtually served. for the full term of five years of the Legislative Assembly but were marginally short thereof. by three months.. Sub-section (1-a). of Section, 3 of the. Act was, therefore, directed to this end alone and has little relevance or: application to the cases of members who may have served in the Legislative Assembly in two terms or more:
4. In view of the above, the writ petitioner cannot. derive any advantage: from sub-section (1A). of S. 3 of the Act. The writ petition is; therefore, wholly without merit and. has to be dismissed: in Limine. There will. be no order as to costs,.
5. Petition dismissed.