UPSC Daily Answer writing practice GS- 2 #43

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What do you understand by parliamentary privileges? Do you think these violate the right to equality guaranteed under the constitution? Elaborate.(250)

संसदीय विशेषाधिकारों से आप क्या समझते हैं? क्या आपको लगता है कि ये संविधान प्रदत्त समानता के अधिकार का उल्लंघन करते हैं? विस्तृत चर्चा करें ।



Explain parliamentary privileges under article Article 105 and 194.


Why privileges important?

Why changes required?


Positive conclusion

Model Answer

Article 105 and 194 of the Constitution of India deal with the power, privileges and immunities of members of Parliament and, State legislatures.

Privileges can be classified in two parts:

  1. Individual privileges:
  • Freedom of Speech- No member is liable to any proceedings in any court for anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament.
  • Freedom from arrest- He can’t be arrested during the session of Parliament and 40 days before the beginning and 40 days after the end of a session.
  • Exemption from jury service.
  1. Collective privileges:
  • Right to publish reports, debates and proceedings and also the right to prohibit others from doing it.
  • Right to exclude strangers from its proceedings and hold secret sittings.
  • The right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges
  • The right to regulate the internal affairs of the House

Thus, the legislators are granted with some special rights as compared to normal citizens. This is to ensure the independence and effectiveness of their actions. Without these, the Houses can neither maintain their authority, dignity and honor nor can protect their members from any obstruction in the discharge of their parliamentary responsibilities.

However, of late civil rights activists have raised voice against such privileges and demanded that they should also be restricted as mentioned in Article 19(2) but the major issue is that the privileges have not been codified yet. The supreme court in the ‘cash for vote scandal’ took a regressive view and put the parliamentary privileges above the fundamental rights (Art 19). The National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) had recommended that privileges should be defined and delimited for the free and independent functioning of the legislatures.

The need of the hour is to look afresh on the issue with modern notion of human rights and rationalize the parliamentary privileges.

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