For how many days do the ministers attend the office?
An application was filed under the RTI Act to the Prime Minister’s Office seeking information regarding the leave or attendance records of the Union council of Ministers. It was transferred to the Cabinet Secretariat, which it said was the nodal office for the council of ministers. As per the information provided by Cabinet Secretariat, attendance or leave register regarding the leave or attendance records of the Union council of Ministers is neither maintained nor is required to be maintained by the government. The Cabinet Secretariat admitted that it has no information on the number of days Union ministers attend office. Further Cabinet Secretariat has no details regarding their travel within India, though for foreign travel, prior permission is taken by them.
As per the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952, the ministers are entitled to a monthly salary of over Rs. 50,000 plus a daily allowance, as specified for MPs. The ministers are also entitled to constituency allowance and other perks. The Cabinet Secretariat has informed that there are no rules pertaining to leaves and attendance of ministers and therefore, the ministers are not required to inform the Cabinet Secretariat when they go on holiday.
In our country, there are strict rules for government employees for proceeding on leaves and even the Commissions appointed by the government are covered under them. Critics have pointed that there is a provision allowing political functionaries to avail paid leave for a certain period every year in other democratic countries such as the United Kingdom and United States. Whenever they proceed on leave, they take the paid leave just like US President Barack Obama utilised his leave for vacation at Hawai.
Does the law of the land does not provide the government with powers to formulate leave rules in India?