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The Indian parliament’s privileges is one of the other provisions are included in Article 79 to Article 122 of the Indian Constitution. Members of Parliament enjoy special privileges and immunities (Individually and collectively) that allow them to successfully execute their tasks. These privileges and immunities are as per Indian Constitutional articles 105 and 122 while the state-specific provisions are 194 and 212. The UPSC Indian Polity and Governance Syllabus includes Parliament privileges (105 and 122). The aspects of parliamentary privileges in the Indian Constitution is taken from the British Constitution. The British Constitution is a origin of other borrowed features like parliamentary government, the rule of law, legislative procedure, single citizenship, cabinet system, prerogative writs, and bicameralism. The privilege of freedom of speech has been explained as a ‘privilege of necessity’. It allows members to raise in the House matters they would not otherwise be able to bring forward.
Indian Parliamentary Privileges – Insights
- Parliamentary privileges refers to exceptional right or advantage, are provided to the members of legislatures worldwide
- In most democratic countries, the legislatures and their members take in certain privileges to function effectively
- Privilege though part of the law of the land, is, to a certain extent a relief from the ordinary law.
- It would not be incorrect to imply that privilege is to Parliament what prerogative is to the Crown.
- Just as the Crown can exercise prerogatives without assistance or obstacles from Parliament or the judges, the House of the Parliament can execute privileges without assistance or hindrance from the Judges.
- India is one of those rare examples in history where representative institutions were made accesible by a foreign government by slow degrees and evolved gradually.
- In the Indian context, the privileges and immunities enjoyed by Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha are termed the parliamentary privileges.
- Parliamentary privilege is the sum of specific rights savored by each House as a whole and by members of each House individually, which outweigh those owned by other groups or persons and without which they could not perform their tasks.
- Some privileges are solely targets on Parliamentary law and custom, while others are governed by statute
Indian Parliamentary Privileges – History
- The origin of Parliamentary privileges in India can be looked as far back as 1833 when a fourth member was added to the governor-general’s council following the Charter Act of 1833.
- A new kind of legislative machinery came into existence.
- It laid the basement of an institution that ultimately grew into a full-fledged law-making body by process of evolution.
- The official aversion to the legislature’s privileges was diluted after the indirect election to the legislature was given by the Indian Council’s Act, 1909.
- The Government of India Act, 1935, granted that there should be freedom of speech in the legislature.
- Presently, some of the privileges of Parliament, and its members and committees, are specified in the Constitution, and there are certain statutes and the rules of procedure of the House; others resume to be based on the precedents of the House of Commons.
- The article of India’s Constitution dealing with the privileges of Parliament are 105 and 122, and the corresponding articles for the states are 194 and 212. Article 105 (1) of India’s Constitution states that, subject to the provisions of the Constitution and the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament, there would be freedom of speech in the Parliament.
Indian Parliamentary Privileges – Sources
- Constitutional provisions
- Various laws made by Parliament
- Rules of both the Houses
- Parliamentary conventions
- Judicial interpretations
Indian Parliamentary Privileges – Advantages
- It decreases tensions, fosters goodwill, and encourages collaboration between the two branches of government because it is beneficial because it fosters cooperation between
- The parliamentary system of governance
- The executive and legislative branches of government.
- Faster and more efficient decision-making
- The legislative and executive branches of government, as well as the parliamentary system, are connected together to allow for faster and more efficient decision-making.
- The collaborations of the legislature and the executive to run a cabinet system of government in a parliamentary system of government means that less personnel and cost are required
- Unlike a presidential system, where all the arms of government are different and occupied by different sets of people.
- It encourages good governance
- The Parliamentary form of government also enhances good governance for the successful management of the country because the individual and collective duty provided to the parliament would inspire all members of the cabinet to work hard.
- Accountability and transparency are also ensured.
Indian Parliamentary Privileges – Issues
- While a parliamentary system may portray to constantly support good governance, it can also make parliamentarians overly strong and arrogant, which can lead to political power abuse.
- Members of parliament shall become supreme and untouchable as a result of the legislative system.
- Since, he is directly elected as Prime Minister as the leader of his party in a parliamentary system of government, the prime minister is accountable to his party rather than the people of the country.
- As a result, he will be more concerned to his party than to his people.
- Without a doubt, in a parliamentary system of government, the prime minister’s duration is always in doubt because the parliament can fire him at any time with a “vote of no confidence.”
- The provisions related to the parliamentary privileges of the parliament (members and committees) can be amended using the simple majority of the parliament.
- President is not entitled to the parliamentary privileges.
- Without taking the oath before the Indian President, the privileges and immunities are not granted to the member of the parliament.
- The Lok Sabha speaker is the guardian of the Lok Sabha members’ privileges and the committees of this house of the parliament.
- This could result in a crisis, segregation, or governance instability.
- Members of the cabinet may be overburdened with double duties as a result of the merge of legislative and executive powers, and certain ministers may be unable to cope.
- Finally, while the parliamentary system enables persons to perform both legislative and executive tasks, it is crucial to remember that a minister’s lack of specialty may result in inefficiencies in one arm of government’s control.
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