COMMITTEESS OF PARLIAMENT (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Polity)

News-CRUX-10     28th October 2023        
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Context: The recently conducted Parliamentary panel review suggests that reinstating Section 377 and criminalising adultery might be recommended to the Indian government in the proposed legal reforms.

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has formulated a draft report which recommends bringing back the Adultery law, and criminalising non-consensual sex between women, men, or trans people.

Committees of Parliament

  • About: A Parliamentary Committee consists of Members of Parliament, who are either appointed, elected, or nominated by the House or its presiding officer, the Speaker or Chairman.

oThese committees operate under the guidance of the Speaker or Chairman and submit their reports either to the House or to the Speaker or Chairman.

  • Origin: The concept of Parliamentary Committees has its roots in the British Parliament.
  • Article 105: Pertains to the privileges of MPs.
  • Article 118: Empowers Parliament to establish rules for governing its procedures and business conduct.
  • Types of Parliamentary Committees: Standing Committees and Ad Hoc Committees.

oStanding Committees are permanent (constituted every year or periodically) and work on a continuous basis.

oAd Hoc Committees are temporary and cease to exist on completion of the task assigned to them.

Section 377: Criminalising homosexuality

  • Section 377 of the British colonial penal code criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature". 
  • This law was struck down in 2018 by the Supreme Court of India. 
  • Notably, there was no provision for addressing non-consensual sex between "men, women, transperson, and acts of bestiality" after Section 377 was removed from the IPC.

Section 497: Criminalising Adultery

  • Adultery was a criminal offence under Chapter XX of the Indian Penal Code until it was quashed by the Supreme Court of India on 27 September 2018 as unconstitutional. 
  • The law dated from 1860. 
  • Under Section 497 of the IPC, which was the section dealing with adultery, a man who had consensual sexual intercourse with the wife of another man without that husband's consent will be punished for this offence.