General Studies Paper 2 (Indian Polity & Constitution)
Question:- 18. Parliamentary privileges are essential for MPs/public leaders to exercise their Constitutionally assigned duties. Discuss in relation to the recent political uproar regarding the new list of ‘unparliamentary words’. Answer in 150 words.
Jul 18, 2022
Answer:-

INTRODUCTION:

Parliamentary privileges are a set of legal immunities, exemptions or rights enjoyed by members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.  Legislators are granted protection against civil or criminal liability for actions done or statements made in the course of their legislative duties. The Indian parliament’s privileges among other provisions are contained in Article 79 to Article 122 of the Indian Constitution.

 

USAGE/ IMPORTANCE

  • secure the independence and effectiveness of the actions taken by MPs
  • help maintain the dignity, authority and honour of the members of parliament.
  • help secure the members of the houses from any obstruction in their discharge of actions.

 

The Lok Sabha secretariat recently released a booklet of unparliamentary words that will henceforth be banned in both the Houses. The list is a compilation of words that have been deemed unparliamentary by various presiding officers in the last couple of years. This created an uproar among the opposing parties as they termed is as a ‘gag order’ on their freedom of expression.

 

BODY PARAGRAPH:

  1. 1.The presence of a vigilant Opposition is necessary not just for a vibrant democracy but for its very survival. When the Opposition criticises the government or carries on an agitation to arouse public opinion against a party’s misdeeds, it is performing a duty that is assigned by the Constitution. Without an effective Opposition, democracy will become dull and legislature will become submissive.
  2. 2.The Opposition must be tolerated because if it is left for the party in power to decide what is healthy and unhealthy criticism, then every criticism of the latter will be treated as unhealthy.
  3. 3.Political parties, the judiciary and civil society must take steps to ensure that democracy does not fail.
  4. 4.The real matter is how this order is applied in practice and see whether it is applied in a “draconian manner” to stifle meaningful criticism or in a light manner just to maintain the decorum of House and decency of healthy discussions.

 

CONCLUSION:  

The role of Speaker/Chairman will increase as the responsibility to ensure fair proceedings in the House- allowing for open discussions and constructive criticism lies on their shoulders. Also, the Ruling Parties as well as the Opposition must work constructively towards achieving our constitutional goal of establishing a sovereign, democratic republic.