The Haryana government has begun recovering a sum of Rs 2.87 crore from the salaries and pensions of 140 sitting and former MLAs after relalising that it had been erroneously paying a part of their income tax as well for the last seven years.
The exercise was initiated after the government realised its mistake while answering a lawyer’s plea for information on salaries and pensions paid to the serving and former MLAs.
In response to lawyer Hemant Kumar’s plea to the State Public Information Officer of the Vidhan Sabha, the government first said it has inadvertently ended up paying Rs 48.14 lakh of Income Tax on behalf of the MLAs between 2010-11 and 2017-2018.
It later revised its answer and put the sum at Rs 2.87 crore, saying it did not realise that the IT was to be paid by the MLAs themselves.
It said it realised later that as per the provisions of Haryana Legislative Assembly Act, 1975, it has to pay the taxes only on salaries and allowances of the speaker, deputy speaker, chief minister, ministers and the leader of the opposition.
The exercise was launched in May this year under the supervision of state Legislative Assembly’s secretariat, which calculated the extra sum paid as taxes on behalf of individual MLAs, as ranging from Rs 4,000 to Rs 8 lakh.
“The recovery process has been initiated and the amount is being deducted from the salary or pension, as the case may be. For ex-MLAs, we have asked the concerned Treasury Officers of all districts from where they draw their pension to make deductions,” a Vidhan Sabha official said today.
He said the deduction to MLAs’ salaries and pensions is being made at a flat rate of Rs 20,000 per month.
Till 2010, the Haryana MLAs received only allowances as there was no provision of salaries for them. They began getting salaries and pensions from September 20, 2010 after the erstwhile Congress government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda enacted the relevant law. The Haryana MLA’s salary was initially fixed at Rs 10,000 per month, which has now reached Rs 40,000.