Chapter 26: PARLIAMENTARY PRIVILEGES

Introduction

These are special rights, privileges or immunity's enjoyed by the MP’s that ensure independence and effectiveness of their actions. Without a privilege the house can’t maintain is dignity, neither honor nor protect its members from any obstructions in their parliamentary duties.

They extend to any member who takes part in parliamentary proceeding [attorney general or union ministers] even if they aren’t members.

However they don’t extend to the president even though he is a part of the parliament.

Collective privileges:

That belong to both houses are:


  1. Right to publish records, reports, debates and prohibit others from doing the same. However by 44th amendment others can publish true reports of proceeding except secret sittings without permission of house.
  2. Right to have secret sittings
  3. Right to informed of the arrest and release of members
  4. Right to punish for its contempt or breach of privilege
  5. No court can inquire into proceedings of house or any committees. No legal process [civil / criminal] can be served without informing presiding officer.

Individual privileges:

Enjoyed by every member.


  1. They cannot be arrested during sessions of the parliament. 40 days before beginning and 40 days after end of each session. This extends to civil cases not criminal cases or preventive detention.
  2.  They have freedom of speech in parliament. No member can be held liable for anything said or vote given in parliament in any court.
  3. Can refuse to give evidence or bear witness during parliament sessions.

    Breach of privilege is an act by which any person or authority attacks the rights, immunity's or privileges of individual or house.    

     Contempt of house is an act of omission which may or may not breach any specific privilege but lower dignity and authority of the house. Thus it has a wider implication.    

Miscellaneous

     Parliament can create additional privileges for itself and if these violate any fundamental right then these privileges can’t be invalidated as they hold higher ground.

Quiz

Score more than 80% marks and move ahead else stay back and read again!