SC stays LS privileges panel from acting on Bengal BJP MP’s ‘plaint’

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: Polity

Topic: Legislature

Issue: Parliamentary Privileges

Context: The Supreme Court stayed further proceedings before a Lok Sabha Privileges Committee, which has summoned the West Bengal Chief Secretary and other officers.

Parliamentary Privileges:

  • These are special rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by the two Houses of Parliament, their committees and their members.
  • They are necessary to secure the independence, authority, dignity and honour of the house and the members.
  • Parliamentary privileges can be classified into two broad categories:
    • Collective privileges: House’s right to make rules to regulate its own procedure, punish members as well as outsiders for breach of its privileges or its contempt etc.
    • Individual privileges: Freedom of speech in Parliament,Protection from arrest during the session of the parliament etc.
  • Sources of Privileges:
    • Constitutional Provisions-Article 105,
    • Various laws made by Parliament,
    • Rules of both the Houses,
    • Parliamentary conventions, and
    • Judicial interpretations.

Committee of Privileges:

  • It is a parliamentary committee that investigates matters of breach of privilege of the House or its members.
    • A breach of privilege is any act or omission that obstructs or interferes with the functioning of the House or its members, or that undermines their dignity or privileges.
  • It protects the rights and dignity of the House and its members.
  • The functions of the committee are semi-judicial in nature by inquiring and recommending appropriate action.
  • In Lok sabha – 15 members, nominated by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
  • In Rajya sabha – 10 members, nominated by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
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