Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The ‘Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members’ as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‘parliamentary privileges’. How can this problem be addressed?

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these

Q2. The ‘Powers, Privileges and Immunities of Parliament and its Members’ as envisaged in Article 105 of the Constitution leave room for a large number of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges to continue. Assess the reasons for the absence of legal codification of the ‘parliamentary privileges’. How can this problem be addressed? (250 words, 15M)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Congress’s Rajya Sabha Chief Whip Jairam Ramesh submitted a breach of privilege notice against Prime Minister.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyse the the absence of legal codification of parliamentary privileges as per Article 105 of the Indian Constitution through relevant case laws and suggest ways to address this issue.

Directive:

Assess – This requires a detailed examination of the reasons for the lack of codification and proposing solutions.

Structure of the Answer:

Introduction:

Introduce Article 105 of the Indian Constitution, outlining the powers, privileges, and immunities granted to Parliament and its members, and mentioning the existence of un-codified and un-enumerated privileges.

Body:

First part: Article 105 provides freedom of speech in Parliament and immunity from legal proceedings for anything said or done within the House.

Emphasise that many privileges remain un-codified, derived from British parliamentary traditions.

Second part: Reasons for the absence of legal codification like historical context due to colonial era, flexibility, complexity and political resistance.

Third part: Problems arising from the lack of codification.

Ambiguity and potential misuse of privileges, Legal uncertainties leading to conflicts and breaches of privilege claims, Instances where lack of clarity has resulted in disputes.

Fourth part: Solutions to address the problem.

Partial Codification, Parliamentary Committee, Judicial Interpretations

Conclusion:

Emphasise the need to balance flexibility with clarity to prevent misuse of parliamentary privileges and the importance of periodic review and adaptive measures to ensure privileges serve their intended purpose in a transparent and accountable manner.