Governance, Indian Polity & Constitution
Context: A breach of privilege motion moved against senior BJP MLA and Deputy Leader of the Opposition led to an uproar in the Rajasthan Assembly recently, with Speaker announcing that a decision on the motion will be taken shortly.
About Privilege Motion:
- All Members of Parliament (MPs) enjoy rights and immunities, individually and collectively, so that they can discharge their duties and functions effectively.
- Any instance when these rights and immunities are disregarded by any member of Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha is an offence, called ‘breach of privilege’, which is punishable under the Laws of Parliament.
- Article 105 of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.
- Apart from the privileges as specified in the Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, 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.
- 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 committee
- These also include the Attorney General of India.
- The parliamentary privileges do not extend to the President who is also an integral part of the Parliament.
- Article 361 of the Constitution provides for privileges for the President.
Role of the Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha Chairperson:
- The speaker of Lok Sabha and the Chairperson of Rajya Sabha are the first levels of scrutiny of a privilege motion in the two Houses of Parliament.
- They can either take a decision on the privilege motion or can also refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.
- Once the Speaker or the House Chairperson gives consent under Rule 222, the concerned member is allowed to explain himself or herself.
Rules Governing Privilege:
- Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and correspondingly Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook governs privilege.
- Rules say that 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 or a committee thereof.
- The Speaker of Lok Sabha nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members of parliament from each party.
- While the Rajya Sabha committee has 10 members.
- The Speaker may also allow a half-hour debate on the report by the committee before passing orders or directing that the report be tabled before the House.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Consider the following statements:
- A bill amending the Constitution requires a prior recommendation of the President of India.
- When a Constitution Amendment Bill is presented to the President of India, it is obligatory for the President of India to give his/her assent.
- A Constitution Amendment Bill must be passed by both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha by a special majority and there is no provision for joint sitting.
Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
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