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1st November 2023 (10 Topics)

Ethics, parliamentary conduct and the Indian MP

The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee's actions against Mahua Moitra, an All India Trinamool Congress MP from West Bengal, have sparked a public debate.

About Breach of Priviledge

  • Accusations of MPs taking money for raising questions in Parliament are taken very seriously.
    • Such actions can be considered breaches of privilege and contempt of the House. When such allegations arise, they are typically referred to the Committee of Privileges for investigation.
    • This committee examines the case, submits its findings, and may recommend actions against the accused MP, including expulsion.

Past Instances of MP Expulsions-

  • In the past, there have been instances in the Lok Sabha where MPs were expelled for similar offenses.
    • For example, in 1951, an MP was found guilty of promoting a business association's interests for financial gain by asking questions and moving amendments that favored that association.
    • In 2005, a sting operation revealed 10 MPs accepting money for raising questions in Parliament, leading to their expulsion.
    • These cases were referred to special committees, which recommended and secured the expulsion of these MPs.

Key Points-

Role of the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee: The Lok Sabha Ethics Committee was established in 2000. Its purpose is to investigate complaints related to the unethical conduct of MPs and recommend action. The term "unethical conduct" is not explicitly defined, leaving it to the committee's discretion. It also formulates a code of conduct for MPs.

Parliamentary vs. Judicial Investigations: Parliamentary investigations differ from judicial probes. Parliament has investigative powers to scrutinize the executive and protect its dignity. Investigations are conducted by parliamentary committees consisting of MPs, not judicially trained individuals.

Methods of Parliamentary Investigations: Parliamentary committees investigate complaints through oral and written examinations, deposition of experts, and evidence analysis. They arrive at findings based on the preponderance of probabilities, not according to the Evidence Act. The Speaker has the final say on the relevance of evidence.

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