IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis



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Context: A special committee of the Lok Sabha has been requested by certain members of the Parliament to investigate whether a member should be suspended for allegedly disrespecting the nation, its democracy, and the legislature.


  • The investigation and punishment of an MP might be carried out by a special probe panel like the one that was established to look into the cash-for-votes affair in 2008.
  • A system to examine the "moral and ethical conduct of the members" already exists in the Ethics Committee of Lok Sabha. But Members request the creation of a special committee along the lines of the one established in 2005 to investigate the cash-for-query controversy 

Cash-for-query controversy 2005

  • A sting operation conducted by the online portal Cobrapost in December 2005 was broadcast on a private TV channel and claimed to have recorded 10 Lok Sabha and one Rajya Sabha MP taking money in exchange for asking questions in the Parliament.
  • The allegedly corrupt and unethical behaviour of the Parliamentarians was condemned. A committee of five members was established by the Lok Sabha. The House Ethics Committee investigated the matter in Rajya Sabha.
  • The MPs' allegation had been proved, according to the committee. The 11 MPs were expelled by a resolution of Parliament in December 2005.
  • For the duration of the suspension, the constituency won't have a representative in the House. There won't be a by-election, which can only be called if the MP is dismissed.

View of Constitutional experts

  • Subhash C. Kashyap, a constitutional expert and former secretary general of the seventh, eighth, and ninth Lok Sabhas, said that the House has the authority to determine whether the member violated a privilege or was in contempt of the House. The House has full autonomy.
  • In general, he said, the claim that opposition legislators' microphones are turned off when they speak could be a matter for the Privileges Committee because it might be regarded as an insult to the Chair; however, the claim that India's democracy is under attack would probably not amount to a violation of the privileges of Parliament. However it is the House that decides on what it deems as contempt, said PDT Achary, another former Secretary General of Lok Sabha.
  • According to Kashyap, the terms of reference for a committee may be established by the House. It has complete authority to do so.
  • Achary stated that a resolution for the formation of such a committee and its mandate could lead to the creation of a special committee. Before somebody may be punished for an offence, the offence must first be defined.