Somnath`s big no to MPs deciding on their salary

Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee was today critical of MPs deciding their own salaries saying it also sullied their image.

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

"...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.