Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court on Monday issued notice to the State Government in a matter related to the payment of income tax on behalf of Ministers and MLAs from the state exchequer.

The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua on the Civil Writ Petition filed by Yash Pal Rana and others.

The petitioners have filed the instant petition as they are aggrieved by virtue of different provisions of the state’s Legislative Assembly (Allowances and Pensions of Members) Act, 1971, whereby MLAs and the Ministers are exempted from paying the income tax on the income earned by them along with various allowances and perquisites.

Further, the petitioners are also aggrieved by the similar provisions of The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Himachal Pradesh) Act, 2000, by virtues of which again the Ministers are exempted from paying the income tax on the income so earned by them in the form of salaries, allowances and other perquisites granted to them under these Acts.

The petitioners have alleged that in accordance with the various provisions of these Acts, the state government is paying income tax of the MLAs and the Ministers from the date of incorporation of the provisions in these Acts.

The petitioners have prayed that the Section 6AA of Himachal Pradesh Legislative Assembly (Allowances and Pensions of the Members) Act, 1971, which provides that the salary and compensatory, constituency, secretarial, postal facilities and telephone allowances payable to a Member and other perquisites admissible to him, under this Act, shall be exclusive of the income tax which shall be payable by the state government, may be declared to be unconstitutional and may be quashed and set aside.

The petitioners have further prayed that Section 12 of the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Himachal Pradesh) Act, 2000, which provide that salary and allowances payable to a Minister and furnished house and other perquisites admissible to him, under this Act, shall be exclusive of income tax which shall be payable by the State Government, may be declared to be unconstitutional and may be quashed and set aside.

The petitioners have also prayed that the state government may be restrained from paying the income tax of Ministers and MLAs.

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Navneet Rathore is a Shimla based journalist having two-years of experience in the field of journalism. Navneet is a post-graduate in Journalism and Mass Communications from Himachal Pradesh University, Shimla and is specialised in crime, education, health, environment, agriculture and Horticulture beats.