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Kerala civic body demands professional tax from MLAs

TRIVANDRUM — The Trivandrum City Corporation has stunned the Members of the Kerala Legislative Assembly (MLA) by demanding professional tax for the remuneration they receive from the government. Professional tax is levied by states in accordance with Article 276 of the Constitution that empowers a state to levy the tax in respect of profession, trade, calling and employment.

 

According to the Kerala Municipalities (Professional Tax) Rules notified by the state government, professional tax is payable if half-yearly earnings of employees exceed Rs12,000. The minimum professional tax payable half-yearly is Rs120 and the maximum is Rs1,250.

The Corporation has asked the MLAs to pay the professional tax according to the remuneration they get with retrospective effect from January 2008 with a penal interest of 1 per cent. A notice in this regard was served on Legislative Secretary by the Corporation Secretary.

The Corporation Secretary has also asked the personal staff of the ministers to pay professional tax. Barring a few deputations from government service, the rest of the personal staff are political appointees.

The move has come as a big surprise to the MLAs, who said that the membership in the Assembly cannot be considered as a profession under the provisions of the rules governing professional tax.

The MLAs pointed out that the bulk of the money they get is allowances and they cannot be considered as wage for the work they are doing. The basic salary an MLA gets is a daily allowance of Rs300. This goes up to Rs500 a day when the Assembly is in session.

The rest are allowances. They include constituency and travelling allowance of Rs5,000 each and traveling allowance subject to a minimum of Rs10,000 a month. The corporation’s move has come at a time when the MLAs have been demanding a hike in their remuneration.

Former Minister Jose Thettayil termed the Corporation’s attempt to equate the legislators with employees and professionals a big joke. The Legislative Assembly is not a factory or business establishment. He said that some officials might have resorted to this wrong step for publicity sake. He has urged the Corporation authorities to withdraw the notice. Congress MLA Palode Ravi has also come out openly against the notice. He told reporters that the legislators were not employees. “What they are doing is public service. There is no provision to collect professional tax for public service”, Ravi said.

Defending the officials, Corporation Mayor K Chandrika said that they had sought the professional tax from MLAs based on an audit remark. The auditors had rapped the Corporation for not collecting the tax.

Chandrika said that the Corporation was ready to withdraw the notice if the concerned authorities had convinced them that the MLAs are exempt from paying the professional tax. “Let them point out rules or orders in this regard. We will withdraw the notice.

Short URL: http://www.cckerala.com/?p=3158

Posted by on Feb 13 2012. Filed under Kerala News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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