IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Misconduct in Parliament  

30th November, 2021 Polity

Figure 1: No Copyright Infringement Intended


  • Twelve Opposition members of the Rajya Sabha were suspended for the entire winter session on Monday for “unprecedented acts of misconduct”, “unruly and violent behaviour” and “intentional attacks on security personnel”.

Reason behind Suspension :

  • According to rules 256 and 374, respectively, in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business for Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, the presiding officer is permitted to, upon deeming it necessary, “name a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules… by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof".


Process of Suspension:

  • Filing of Motion: The act of ‘naming’ of such a member paves the way for a motion to be moved in that House on the question that the member thus ‘named’ be “suspended from the service (of the House) for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session".
  • Passing of Motion: This motion is generally subjected to a voice vote, as was the case with TMC MP Shantanu Sen in Rajya Sabha during the Monsoon session of 2021 after he had snatched from the hands of IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and torn them. Once the motion is passed, the suspended MP is required to “forthwith quit the precincts" of the House.


Rules for Withdrawal:

  • For both Houses, the rules provide that such suspension can stand terminated if that House, passes a motion to that effect.


Power difference in LokSabha and Rajyasabha:

  • there is an additional provision in the Lok Sabha rules — which does not exist for Rajya Sabha — that allows the Speaker to suspend a member without the need for a motion in that regard being brought in the House. Rule 374A allow for suspension of member without the need for a motion.


Expected behavior:

  • “behaviour of members should be such as to enhance the dignity of the House and its members".
  • It implies that “the conduct of members should not be contrary to the usage or derogatory to the dignity or prestige of the House or in any way inconsistent with the standards which the House is entitled to expect of its members".
  • However, as noted by the ‘Rules of Conduct and Parliamentary Etiquette‘ of Rajya Sabha, “what precisely constitutes an unbecoming or unworthy conduct has not been exhaustively defined".


Need of the Hour:

  • A balance has to be struck. There can be no question that the enforcement of the supreme authority of the Speaker is essential for smooth conduct of proceedings. However, it must be remembered that her job is to run the House, not to lord over it.
  • The solution to unruly behaviour has to be long-term and consistent with democratic values.
  • A step in that same direction could be to discontinue the practice of herding people out of the visitors’ gallery when the House witnesses chaos.It has been suggested that it may perhaps be a good idea to let them be — and to also reserve a few blocks in the gallery for schoolchildren, who could see for themselves the conduct of Members.