Of legislators and public money

IN a democracy, the politicians should not only be sensitive to public opinion but also keep an ear to the public perception of their conduct. That is why even though T.T. Krishnamachari was not personally held liable, he resigned from the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet. Similarly, Lal Bahadur Shastri, though not personally involved in the Railway accident, resigned.  Those stories seem as if from a hoary past.

I say this because the editorial, “Aaj Ka MLA” (June 20) has very rightly criticised the Punjab Government’s practice to pay the Income-Tax of the MLAs and pertinently pointed out that they are not a breed apart. But it appears that our worthy legislators consider that Membership of the Assembly is not for the service of the poor but is the biggest opportunity for making money.

I am shocked at the legislators’ attitude. I remember that long back some errant judges had floated the idea that as the Constitution fixes the pay and allowances during the tenure of the judge, judges should not be liable to pay Income-Tax if there is any increase during their tenure. Judges, who are no different from ordinary mortals and have necessarily the same weaknesses, had lost no time to reject it outright. This when the judges do not have to go back to the public for seeking re-election.


However, legislators who are to go to elections in Punjab next year, consider the public reaction in such demeaning terms that they are not even afraid that their self-aggrandisement for extra funds for themselves can be taken as a negative factor against their re-election.

I am, however, sure that the public, howsoever disappointed and weak in its perception, is not so totally blind as not to give a fitting answer to these legislators who believe as if the public exchequer is their personal property.

RAJINDAR SACHAR, Former Chief Justice of the  Delhi High Court, New Delhi


I fail to understand under which clause the Punjab government pays the Income-Tax of its ministers and MLAs. If there is a law in this regard, why its scope should not be extended to the state government employees too?

In the recent past, the Punjab government had doubled the pay and other perks of the MLAs. However, it has ignored the interests of its employees, who are always heavy taxpayers. The undue benefits granted to the politicians should be withdrawn immediately. The tax should be recovered from their present source of income. Otherwise, this benefit should be granted to its employees too, serving and retired.

S. K. NAYAR, Chandigarh

Squeezing the people

The UPA Government at the Centre has been squeezing the people. Prices have skyrocketed and little is being done to provide relief to the common man. What is the use of 8 per cent growth rate if there is no perceptible improvement in the people’s quality of life?

Why doesn’t the Income Tax Department raid the residences of top politicians, film stars, industrialists, businessmen and others and unearth the black money? Why should it harass only the common man?

Prof AVTAR SINGH, Gurdaspur

What ails Mant Panchayat?

THE Mant Panchayat (Ram Nagar-Shyam Nagar) near Dharamsala is a picture of neglect. Its central road (from Baba Medical to PWD Workshop) and internal paths are full of potholes, broken patches, uneven surfaces and slush. There is no drainage system and the ongoing sewerage work has made these roads virtual death traps.

The central road always remains choked with speeding vehicles. The pedestrians are under the risk of being hit by these vehicles. There is also the nuisance of exhaust emission. There are no speed breakers.

There is no bus service. Repeated pleas for plying buses, cabs and diversion of some buses towards Kotwali Bazar (through the steep high bend known as Khuni Mor) via the central road of the Panchayat area have been in vain. Hiring a taxi for taking the sick, old and handicapped people to the hospital costs Rs 120 a trip!

The drinking water supply is irregular and inadequate. The system is defective with broken pipes and discriminatory distribution. The Chief Minister should help solve these problems before the onset of monsoon.

PARVEEN KUMAR and 181 Others, Mant Panchayat, Dharamsala



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