Parliamentary Privileges

  • IASbaba
  • July 29, 2021
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Parliamentary Privileges

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Parliamentary Privileges

In news: The Supreme Court recently held that lawmakers cannot indulge in criminal acts on the Parliament or Assembly floors and then take cover behind the right to free speech.

  • The court refused the Kerala government’s plea to withdraw prosecution of top Left Democratic Front (LDF) leaders accused of vandalism and wanton destruction of public property on the Assembly floor during a Budget speech in 2015.
  • The SC observed that Parliamentary privileges and immunities are not “gateways” for legislators to claim exemption from the law of the land, especially criminal law. 

What is Parliamentary Privilege?

  • Parliamentary privilege refers to rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by Parliament as an institution and MPs in their individual capacity, without which they cannot discharge their functions as entrusted upon them by the Constitution.
  • 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

What are the Rules Governing Privilege?

  • Article 105 mentions two privileges – freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.
  • Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook governs privilege.
  • A member may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House.
  • The rules mandate that any notice should be relating to an incident of recent occurrence and should need the intervention of the House.

News Source: TH

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