BREACH OF PRIVILEGE
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Parliamentary privilege – Right and immunity enjoyed by legislatures, in which legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made in the course of their legislative duties.
Provisions of the Constitution
- Members of the Indian Parliament – Article 105
- Members of State Legislatures – Article 194
What constitutes a breach of this privilege :
- There are no clear, notified rules to decide what constitutes a breach of privilege, and the punishment it attracts.
- Any act that obstructs or impedes either House of the state legislature in performing its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results
- To make speeches or to print or publish libel reflecting on the character or proceedings of the House, or its Committees, or on any member of the House for or relating to his character or conduct as a legislator.
How is it decided
- The Legislative Assembly Speaker or Legislative Council Chairman constitutes a Privileges Committee.
- The members to the committee are nominated based on the party strength in the Houses.
- Speaker or Chairman first decides on the motions.
- If the privilege and contempt are found prima facie, then the Speaker or Chairman will forward it to the Privileges Committee by following the due procedure.
- The Committee will examine whether statements made by him had insulted the state legislature and its Members, and whether their image was maligned before the public.
- The Committee, which has quasi-judicial powers, will seek an explanation from all the concerned, will conduct an inquiry and will make a recommendation based on the findings to the state legislature for its consideration.