Q Why is it in News ?
A A chief whip of the largest party in opposition in the Rajya Sabha has moved a privilege motion against Culture Minister over the appointment of the chairperson of the National Monuments Authority.
Q What is Parliamentary Privilege?
- Parliamentary privilege refers to the right and immunity enjoyed by legislatures.
- The legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made in the course of their legislative duties.
- They are granted so that the MPs/MLAs can effectively discharge their functions.
- The powers, privileges and immunities of either House of the Indian Parliament and of its members and committees are laid down in Article 105 of the Constitution.
- Article 194 deals with the powers, privileges and immunities of the State Legislatures, their members and their committees.
Q What is a privilege motion?
- When any of the 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.
- Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.
Q What are the 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 govern privilege.
- It says 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 of a committee thereof.
- The rules however mandate that any notice should be relating to an incident of recent occurrence and should need the intervention of the House.
- Notices have to be given before 10 am to the Speaker or the Chairperson.
Q What is the role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha Chair?
- 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 Rule 222, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.
Q What is the privileges committee?
- In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths.
- A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report.
- The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House.
- A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed.
- In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, which consists of 10 members.