Codification of parliamentary privileges begins

By Sri Krishna


Support TwoCircles

New Delhi : With the expulsion of 10 members of the Lok Sabha in a cash-for-queries scam and six others allegedly involved in human trafficking, the Committee of Privileges has begun an exercise to codify parliamentary codes, ethics and privileges.

"With the approval of Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, we have taken up the matter concerning parliamentary privileges and its codification and related matters. It assumes significance in the wake of these developments," Committee chairman V. Kishore Chandra S. Deo told IANS.

He said a questionnaire and a background note on the privileges enjoyed by members of parliament has been circulated to parliaments around the world, academics, media and experts to elicit their views on the subject.

"On the basis of the replies for the questionnaire, the Committee will draw up the code for parliamentarians," he said.

Deo said as of now only the Australian parliament has a code for its parliamentarians and "so we are keen to know from them the details of this code which we can examine."

"The committee would very much appreciate that it gets replies to the questionnaire as early as possible so that we can begin the exercise," he said.

Among the questions raised by the committee is one which asks whether privileges enjoyed by members to function freely are liable to be used by the members against the very interests of the people who are their constituents.

It has also sought answer to the demand by members that in order to enable them to serve their constituents unfettered, parliamentary privileges should appropriately be extended in their constituencies.

The committee has sought views on whether members expelled from the house for grave misconduct unbecoming of them can be reviewed by the judiciary.

"We have put forward questions pertaining to all possible aspects of privileges of members and whether codification is needed for this purpose," Deo said.