Somnath`s big no to MPs deciding on their salary
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Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 00:04
New Delhi: Favouring a separate pay commission for parliamentarians, former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was today critical of MPs deciding their own salaries saying it also sullied their image.

"Please for heaven's sake let us not decide our salary ourselves. It is objectionable to me," Chatterjee said.

He said as a member of the Lok Sabha he has often raised the issue and opposed on MPs deciding on their pay cheque.

"...After I became a Speaker, I called a meeting of the parties, the leaders of almost all the major political parties agreed with me and then I sent a proposal to the Prime Minister (on a separate salary commission for MPs) saying that let it be done in a manner that nobody raise a question about the MPs' role in it...he agreed," the former Speaker told a TV channel.

He said he was happy that more and more people now agreed to the idea mooted by him to have a separate "salary commission or pay commission" for MPs.

Lamenting on "delay" on part of the government in deciding on institutionalising the salary system of MPs, Chatterjee said "probably, I don't know, they have any peculiar idea of pampering MPs but today it is becoming a matter of not only image of Parliament but parliamentarians' role is also been ridiculed."

Chatterjee observed that India was the only country where MPs decide on their own salary. "... they make their recommendations and the Government generally accepts it or unless it is too high the government does some bargaining with looks so bad."

He appealed to "all concerned" not to "sully the image of parliamentarians. It is not good for the country. If people have no faith in parliamentarians they will have no faith in the system itself."

Asked whether the MPs have sullied their image by asking for a hike, he said it was "very unfortunate". He also said that "some other methods" could have been found out for "indigent constituents."

"But just to go on hiking and saying Re one plus high than the bureaucrats' salary does not leave a good taste in my mouth," he added.

To a poser on the reason behind the public anger on the issue, Chatterjee said "timing, the method, their quantum, in this case have all come together. This is not the time when we are protesting against price rise...then to say give me more than anyone in this country...I don't know..."

The former Speaker, however, ruled out a suggestion on performance-based salary for parliamentrians saying it will be very difficult. "That will be subjective...won't be possible," he added.


First Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010, 00:04

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