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Parliamentary Privileges:

GS Paper 2:

Syllabus: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

Context:

The Parliament’s Privileges and Ethics Committee has asked the Maharashtra Chief Secretary, DGP Maharashtra, Mumbai Police Commissioner and Superintendent of Women District Prison, Byculla (Mumbai) to appear before them for oral evidence, in connection with Navneet Rana’s arrest case.

 

Background:

Navneet Kaur Rana, the Amravati MP, filed a complaint against several individuals and alleged that she was illegally arrested and treated inhumanely at a police station in Mumbai during the ‘Matoshree-Hanuman Chalisa row.’

 

What are Parliamentary Privileges?

They are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.

  1. Article 105 of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.

 

Sources:

  1. The Constitution.
  2. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  • It provides for freedom from arrest and detention of members under civil process during the continuance of the meeting of the House or of a committee thereof and forty days before its commencement and forty days after its conclusion.

 

Motion against breaches:

When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.

  • A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege.

 

Role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha (RS) Chairperson:

The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.

The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.

  • If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under relevant rules, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the Constitution also extends the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees? These include the Attorney General of India.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Which provisions of the Constitution protect the privileges of the legislature?
  2. What is the procedure to be followed in cases of alleged breach of the legislature’s privilege?
  3. Composition and functions of Privileges Committees in Parliament and State Legislatures.

Mains Link:

What do you understand about legislative privileges? Discuss the problem of legislative privileges as seen in India from time to time.

 

Q.2) Which of the following are the sources of Parliamentary Privileges in India?

  1. The Constitution of India.
  2. The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  3. Indian Penal Code.

Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1 and 3 only.
  2. 1 and 2 only.
  3. 1, 2 and 3.
  4. None of the above.

Sources: Indian Express.