- Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
Rules for the Conduct of Business
What to study?
For Prelims: Overview of various rules discussed below.
For Mains: Need for and significance of the Code of conduct for MPs and MLAs.
Context: The suspension of two Congress members by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla after unruly scenes in the House has brought back focus on the conduct of MPs, and related issues.
Powers of Speaker under the Rules for the Conduct of Business:
Rule 378 of the Rules for the Conduct of Business states: “The Speaker shall preserve order and shall have all powers necessary for the purpose of enforcing own decisions.”
Rule 373 says: “The Speaker, if is of the opinion that the conduct of any member is grossly disorderly, may direct such member to withdraw immediately from the House, and any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall remain absent during the remainder of the day’s sitting.”
For recalcitrant members, Rule 374 says:
- The Speaker may, if deems it necessary, name a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.
- If a member is so named by the Speaker, the Speaker shall, on a motion being made forthwith put the question that the member (naming such member) be suspended from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
- A member suspended under this rule shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.
- Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
- On the Speaker announcing the suspension under this rule, the member shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.
Need of the hour:
- Political parties should have a code of conduct for their MPs and MLAs to help monitor their behaviour in Parliament and state legislatures.
- Political parties could include such a code in their election manifestos that would help enable voters to make their judgement before voting.
- The code of conduct should include stipulations that members would not enter the well of the house, nor resort to sloganeering and disruptions or any other unruly behaviour such as tearing of papers and throwing them in the House.
- There is also a need for more coordination between the ruling party and the opposition, both inside and outside Parliament, that could help bring about consensus on important legislations.
Sources: the Hindu.