Explained:Know your ‘unparliamentary’ — What MPs cannot say in the House

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News:Recently,the heated exchanges in Parliament have brought back the questions around unparliamentary speech and conduct in the Parliament.

Facts:

About Parliamentary privileges:

  • Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively so that they can effectively discharge their functions.
  • The Constitution under Article 105 mentions two types of privileges  namely the freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings.
  • Article 105(2) says that no Member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof.
  • However,whatever an MP says is subject to the discipline of the Rules of Procedure, good sense of Members and the control of proceedings by the Speaker.

Rules of Procedure on Unparliamentary speech:

  • Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business have been formulated under Article 118 of the Constitution wherein each House of Parliament  is required to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business.
  • Rule 380 of the rules says that if the Speaker is of opinion that words used in debate are defamatory or unparliamentary, the Speaker may order that such words be expunged from the proceedings of the House.
  • Rule 381 says that the portion of the proceedings of the House so expunged shall be marked by asterisks and an explanatory footnote shall be inserted in the proceedings as expunged as ordered by the Chair.