THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Speaker G Karthikeyan said the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Secretary’s action of sending a notice to the Legislature Secretary asking for paying professional tax of MLAs was not an order and was an unprecedented action.
He told a news conference to brief the schedule of the next Assembly session beginning on March 1 that the MLAs were not receiving salary but only benefits.
He said that the secretary’s notice had the tone and tenor of an order but was prepared in a shoddy manner exposing ignorance. He pointed out that the heading of the notice had reference to the professional tax of personal staff of ministers. The same notice asks the Legislature Secretary to pay professional tax of MLAs.
Following this, the Corporation Secretary was asked to report before the Legislature Secretary. Instead of complying with the order, an Additional Secretary was sent without giving any intimation that he was being sent in place of the secretary. The justification for this was that the secretary was away in Uttar Pradesh on election duty. The Corporation sent the notice to the Legislature Secretary to collect tax from the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker as if both were subordinates to the Legislature Secretary.
The Chief Secretary and the LSG Secretary have been asked to initiate action against the Corporation Secretary, Karthikeyan said. The tax arrears of Legislative Assembly building is just Rs 50.07 lakh.
Karthikeyan said that the Corporation had first sent a notice for arrears worth Rs 19.88 crore as building tax.
The Mayor directly came to meet the Speaker and told him that because of the non-payment of arrears, the Corporation was finding it tough to pay salaries of employees. “The Mayor once again came to meet me. This time, she tried to take mediapersons with her. But no one is allowed to invite mediapersons within the Assembly premises,’’ he said.
The tax arrears were reassessed at Rs 3.83 crore. On the Mayor’s request, Rs 50 lakh was paid urgently. Actually, the building tax for the Assembly buildings for an year is Rs 25 lakh only. As per the Municipalities Act, the arrears for four years can only be demanded at a time. Under this rule, the arrears due now will only be Rs 50.07 lakh, the Speaker said.
He said he had asked the legislature party leaders to help avoid situations whereby Bills are forced to be passed without discussions.
He said that the Opposition leader and CPI leader C Divakaran had asked to effect a change in the schedule of the Assembly session in view of the CPI party congress scheduled from March 27 to 31 in Patna.
It will be decided in the Business Advisory Committee of the Assembly on