The Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 (Act no. 33 of 1977) was being the Act of Central Government was enacted with the motive to provide salary and allowances to the leader of opposition in either house of the Parliament of India who is member of the council of State or lok sabha. Such leader is from opposition party to the existing government having numerical strength and having been recognised by the Chairman of the Council of States or the Speaker of lok sabha as the case may be. The Act brought into effect on 1st January, 1977.
Section 3 of the Act is important so far as it is connected with the object to entitle the every Leader of the Opposition to the salary and allowances at such similar rate as has been provided under the provision of section 3 of the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 for the Members of Parliament. As per the rates specified under the said provision of Act of 1954, in the year 2010 the salary is given 50,000 rupees per mensem and allowances 2000 rupees for each day. Similarly, the provisions of the section 3 of this Act says under its second sub section that, every leader of Opposition should also be paid Constituency allowance with the similar rate specified under section 8 of the Act of 1954. Moreover, every Leader of Opposition are entitled to the Sumptuary Allowance of Rupees on thousand per mensem. However, the amendment was brought in the provision by inserting a proviso clause containing that the rate of Sumptuary allowance should be same, which has been provided to the other Minister who is a member of Cabinet i.e. at the rate of rupees 2000, under the provision of section 5 of The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952. The said amendment was brought by the Salaries and Allowances of Officers of Parliament and Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 2002 (Act no. 21 of 2002).
Further, Section 4 of the Act deals with provision of furnished residence for the Leaders of Opposition, for the period for which such leader continue as such. Such residence should be allotted without any payment of rent or maintenance (payment of tax inclusive) thereof. Also such period of rent free residence will be extended for one month’s period after the Leader ceased to be so. If any leader of opposition dies, then also such residence can be used by his or her family members for the period of one month thereafter and in case such period again extents to one more month, then the prescribed rate of rent, as per rules of the Central Government and also charges of the electricity and water consumed by them. And the residence should includes, the Staff Quarters and other Buildings Appurtenant thereto and garden thereof.
The section 4 of the Act making provisions as to travelling and daily allowances to the Leaders of Opposition and their family members for their journey to Delhi from his usual place of residence and vice versa. Also, the Leaders are entitled to the travelling and daily allowances for their tours for discharging duties. Similarly, section 6 makes provision as to free medical treatment and accommodation in the Government Hospital to the Leaders of the Opposition and their family members. Section 7, bars the Leaders of the Oppositions who receives the salary or allowances under this Act, should not be entitled to receive any sums by way of salary or allowances in respect of being members of either House of Parliament. Similarly, the provision of section 8 provides for other amenities to the Leaders of Opposition including telephone and secretarial facilities. Moreover, such leaders should also be entitled to receive conveyance allowance of 300 rupees per month subject to the Central Government’s rules.
Further, similar with the other Members of Parliament and other Ministers, the Leaders of Opposition should also be entitled to advances for purchasing car. The section 8A makes provision for such advances, which are to repayable by such leaders. Also section 9A provides that the Leaders of Opposition should not be required to pay Income tax on the amount received by them in lieu of rent free furnished residence. It is given under this section that, such amount not to be included under the head of Salaries within the meaning of section 15 of the Income-tax Act 1961. Similarly, section 10 empowers the Central Government to make rules which should be inconsistent with the provisions of this Act and should also provide on the various matters provided under this provision. As such the Act is making very similar provisions to the one which the other Acts provides for Members of Parliament and other Ministers of Council of Ministers.
by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan.