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What is a Privilege Motion and how does the Committee of Privileges in Parliament examine it?

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What is a Privilege Motion and how does the Committee of Privileges in Parliament examine it?

Context- Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar referred complaints related to the privilege of the House against TMC’s Derek O’Brien and AAP’s Raghav Chadha to the privileges committee

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This comes amid differences between the ruling party and some opposition parties that have plagued the ongoing Monsoon Session of its sittings, The opposition complaints were primarily about asking Prime Minister Modi to make an appearance in the Parliament to speak about the ethnic violence that has taken place in Manipur.

What is the basis of the complaints?

  • The notice against O’Brien was filed for repeated publishing of the clippings of his statement made in the House on July 20 through his verified personal Twitter handle, despite the fact that those were expunged or removed from the record by the chairman.
  • The complaint against Chadha, dated July 25, alleges an “intentional and deliberate act of presenting misleading facts to the media” on July 24 with respect to the suspension of “Sanjay Singh, Member, from the service of the Council for the remaining period of the 260th (Monsoon) session of Rajya Sabha for his indecorous behaviour and repeated violation of directions of the Chair”.

What is a privilege motion?

  • The two rules referred to here relate to the concept of parliamentary privilege, which are certain rights conferred to the Members of Parliament for conducting the business of the Parliament.
  • There is no codified list of the exact privileges, but it includes the right of free expression in the course of Parliamentary debates and Members of Parliament will not be liable for court proceedings for this.
  • If there is a belief that such a privilege has been breached, a motion can be raised by any member. It can be admitted by the Chairman. They can then refer it to the Privileges Committee.
  • The Chairman can, from time to time, nominate such a Committee, consisting of ten members. It will also have a Chairman appointed by the Rajya Sabha Chairman.
  • The right to raise a question of privilege is based on satisfying two conditions, namely: (i) the question shall be restricted to a specific matter of recent occurrence, and (ii) the matter requires the intervention of the Council.
  • Similar provisions exist in Lok Sabha with the Speaker having the power to make such decisions.

What action can the privileges committee take?

  • The mandate of the committee is to examine such cases and “make such recommendations as it may deem fit”. It can call the relevant people as part of its examination and look at related documents.
  • A motion has to be passed for the consideration of the report and amendments can be suggested. The Chairman or any member of the Committee or any other member can move that the Council agrees, disagrees, or agrees with amendments, with the recommendations contained in the report.

Are privilege notices rejected often?

A large number of notices are rejected, with penal action recommended in only a few cases.

Syllabus- Prelims; Current Affairs

Source- Indian Express

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