Privilege Motion Punishments

Q.  Which of the following is/are true?

1) Privilege motion does not involve arrests of the guilty but just the suspension or fining.
2) Privilege Motions are very serious breaches and are handled in a joint sitting with the Speaker presiding the sitting and deciding the matter.

- Published on 02 Mar 16

a. Only 1
b. Only 2
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2

ANSWER: Only 1
  • In the Lok Sabha, a privilege motion can be moved under Rule No 222 in Chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha Rule Book while in the Rajya Sabha it can be moved under Rule 187 in Chapter 16 of the Rajya Sabha rule book.
  • Under the rules in the respective houses, a member may, with the consent of the Speaker or the Chairperson, raise a question involving a breach of privilege either of a member or of the House or of a committee thereof provided that the notice is given before 10 am and the matter pertains to an incident of recent occurrence.
  • Past experience shows that in a large percentage of cases the privilege motions are kept pending or are withdrawn following an apology from the accused.
  • In the Indira Gandhi case, Charan Singh had moved a resolution of breach of privilege against her following observations made by the Justice Shah Commission which probed excesses during the Emergency. Indira Gandhi, who had just won Lok Sabha seat, was expelled from the House.
  • The house can ensure attendance of the offending person. The person can be given a warning and let go or be sent to prison as the case may be.
  • In the case of throwing leaflets and chappal, the offending individuals were sentenced to simple imprisonment.
  • In 2008, an editor of an Urdu weekly referred to the deputy chairman of Rajya Sabha as a “coward” attributing motives to a decision taken by him. The privileges committee held the editor guilty of breach of privilege. The committee instead of recommending punishment stated that, “it would be better if the House saves its own dignity by not giving undue importance to such irresponsible articles published with the sole intention of gaining cheap publicity.”

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