HM opposes VIP treatment for ex-MPs

Kathmandu, September 24

Minister of Home Affairs Janardan Sharma told the State Affairs Committee of the Parliament today to remove the provision from the bill relating to pay and perks that treated former lawmakers as per VIP protocol.

Speaking at a SAC meeting today, Sharma said the ministry would address the protocol issue of former lawmakers separately and he was not in favour of mixing their case with former VIPs, according to SAC member Ganga Lal Tuladhar of CPN-UML.

Another SAC member Rameshwar Phuyal of UML said Minister Sharma’s argument hinted, albeit indirectly, that if former lawmakers were treated as per VIP protocol that could place additional financial burden on the government.

SAC sub-panel had finalised the bill relating to the pay and perks of former VIPs proposing to treat former MPs as per VIP protocol after Former MPs Forum lobbied that former MPs should be treated as per VIP protocol. The sub-panel had also proposed free of cost treatment for former MPs in government hospitals.

Today’s meeting of the SAC was expected to pass the report of the sub-panel led by lawmaker Jivan Bahadur Shahi which had decided to treat former MPs as per VIP protocol.  The Parliament Secretariat had even included the bill relating to pay and perks of former VIPs in tomorrow’s business schedule and it was expected to pass the bill tomorrow but after the home minister’s intervention it is uncertain when the bill will be passed.

The original bill defines former presidents, vice-presidents, and prime ministers/chairs of council of ministers, chief justices, speakers and chairs of the upper house as former VIPs.