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Why Privilege Motion in News?

What’s in News?

Recently, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Jaydeep Dhankar raised complaints against two prominent opposition members- Derek O’Brien from the TMC and Raghav Chadha from Aam Aadmi Party. The complaints, which pertain to alleged breaches of parliamentary privileges, have further intensified the ongoing political tussle during the sittings.

Basis of the recent Complaints

  • According to the Rajya Sabha secretariat, notice against Derek O’Brien was filed for publishing the clippings of his statement made in the House on his Twitter handle, despite those being removed from the record by the Chairman.
  • The complaint against Raghav Chadha alleges an intentional and deliberate act of presenting misleading facts to the media with respect to the suspension of an Aam Aadmi Party’s MP, Sanjay Singh, from the remaining period of the Monsoon session of the Rajya Sabha.

About Privilege Motion

All the Members of Parliament enjoy rights and immunities, individually and collectively, so that they can discharge their duties and functions efficiently. 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.

Any member from either house can move a notice in the form of a motion against the member who he/she thinks is guilty of the breach of privilege.

Rules concerning the Privilege Motion

  • The rules governing the privilege are mentioned in the Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book and Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha Rule Book.
  • According to the rules, any member of the House may with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson raise a question involving an incident that he or she considers a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee.

Committee of Privileges in Parliament

  • This committee consists of 15 members in Lok Sabha (10 in case of Rajya Sbha) nominated by the speaker (Chairperson in case of Rajya Sabha) from time to time.
  • In Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson appointed as the head of the committee.
  • The committee examines every question involving a breach of privilege of the House or of the members or of any Committee referred to it by the Speaker/Chairman and make suitable recommendations in its report.

History of Privilege Motion in Parliament

Most of the cases of the privilege motion passed in the Parliament in the past have been rejected. Penal actions have been recommended only in a few, so far. Some significant privilege motion cases:

  • In 1978, privilege motion was moved against Indira Gandhi and was expelled from the House.
  • In 1976, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy was expelled from the Rajya Sabha.

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