Members of either House of Parliament shall be entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as may from time to time be determined by Parliament by law and, until provision in that respect is so made, allowances at such rates and upon such conditions as were immediately before the commencement of this Constitution applicable in the case of members of the Constituent Assembly of the Dominion of India.

Debate Summary

Article 86, Draft Constitution, 1948

Members of either House of Parliament shall be entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as may from time to time be determined by Parliament by law and, until provision in that respect is so made, allowances at such rates and upon such conditions as were immediately before the date of commencement of this Constitution applicable in the case of members of the Legislature of the Dominion of India.

 

Draft Article 86 (Article 106, Constitution of India, 1950) was discussed on 20 May 1949. It enabled the Parliament to regulate salaries and allowances of the members of the Parliament.

 

A member moved an amendment that would provide the Leader of Opposition with a salary similar to that of a Minister without a Cabinet rank. This would constitutionally recognise the Leader of Opposition and promote ‘parliamentary opposition’ which is a bulwark of democracy. Moreover, as parliamentary democracy conditions must not be created to promote only one-party government. An express recognition of the Opposition in the Constitution would prevent dominance of one party and create conducive circumstances to criticise the government. Another member supported this amendment and believed that statutory recognition of Leader of Opposition would be important for the effective working of a democracy.

 

Several members opposed this amendment. It was pointed out that the Constitution did not prohibit the Parliament from paying salary to the Leader of Opposition. The future Parliament was empowered to fix salaries and allowances even to the Leader of Opposition. There was no need to explicitly mention it in the Constitution. Another member justified the Drafting Article and highlighted that it was ‘wide’ enough to encompass salary for the Leader of the Opposition. Moreover, no other Constitution had encoded the Leader of Opposition's salary in its text.

 

The same member further proposed to fix proportion between the salaries of members of the parliament and the ministers, a practice that could be found in Australia and New Zealand. This amendment would remove vast class disparity between the ministers and other members.

 

The Assembly did not accept these amendments. It adopted the Draft Article on 20 May 1949.