MPs to be elevated in protocol list

There is an obvious reason for the MPs to smile now, as the Parliament Committee on Privileges is all set to elevate them four or five notches above their current standing of 21, in the protocol list.

More important for them, the members are also likely to get permission to use red beacon with flasher on top of their vehicles across the country, considered a status symbol in many places.

The move to elevate MPs in the list of protocol comes in the wake of about 100 MPs recently submitting a memorandum to the Privileges Committee seeking permission to use red beacon lights and modification in the existing WoP to elevate their status.
These MPs had maintained that their vehicles, without beacon, were fined by traffic police, particularly in Delhi. At present, the Central Motor Vehicles Rules do not permit the members of Parliament to use beacon on top of their car.

However, states like Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh allow MPs to use beacon.
 The Committee on Privileges is set to make recommendation to the government to amend the WoP or Order of Precedence. The WoP is a protocol list of hierarchy of important positions maintained by the Union Government, where the functionaries and officials are listed according to their rank and office. The WoP is established by the President of the India but is maintained by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

At present, the grade of MPs is lower than the nominated Chairmen of Minority and SC/ST Commissions, which is 17 position. The MPs have been demanding that they should be elevated to 11th position on par with the Attorney General of India or Cabinet Secretary, as they represent around 12 to 14 lakh  people.

The Privileges Committee is learnt to have favoured 17th position to MPs and it will be on par with  the Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal, or SC/ST or Minorities Commission or Chief Justice of High Courts, outside their respective jurisdictions, Judges of High Courts.

Final decision
“The Committee has been discussing this issue and will meet again on August 24 and take a final decision”, Privileges Committee chairman P C Chacko told Deccan Herald.
On the MPs complaints that government officials in states have been ignoring them, Chacko said the Committee would request the Centre to write to all the states to ensure that  privileges were accorded as per the protocol while inviting them for the government programmes or printing Parliamentarians names in invitations of official programmes.
The rule would also apply while carving  names on the foundation stones for government programmes.

Till 1995, MPs were in 11th position and they moved 10 places when the guidelines were modified. In Australia and France, the MPs enjoy higher status with 10th and 11th places respectively.

However, in Britain and US, they are at the bottom of the table with 20th and 29th positions.

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