COMMITTEE OF PRIVILAGE (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     2nd November 2023        

Context: The Rajya Sabha's privileges committee will meet next week to review the recently reported cases of breach of privilege against members of Parliament (MPs).

Breach of Privilege

  • A breach of privilege refers to the violation of the privileges of MPs or Parliament.
  • Actions that cast reflections on MPs, Parliament, or its committees can be regarded as breaches of privilege.
  • Such actions encompass the publishing of news items, editorials, or statements in newspapers, magazines, TV interviews, or public speeches.

Parliamentary Privilege

  • Parliamentary privilege encompasses the rights, immunities, and exemptions granted to Parliament and individual MPs, enabling them to fulfil their constitutional duties effectively.
  • When any of these rights and immunities are violated, it constitutes a breach of privilege, subject to legal consequences under parliamentary law.
  • A member of either House can initiate proceedings against those found guilty of breaching privilege by submitting a motion in the form of a notice.

Committee of Privileges

  • About: It is a Parliamentary Committee present in both the Houses of the Parliament.
  • Composition: 15 members in Lok Sabha (10 in case of Rajya Sabha) nominated by the Speaker (Chairman in case of Rajya Sabha).
  • Functions: The committee reviews matters related to breaches of privilege.
  • The committee outlines the steps for the House to implement its recommendations.
  • If the Speaker refers a privilege question to the Committee, the Committee's report is presented to the Speaker, who may make final decisions or have it placed on the House's Table.