What is Parliamentary Privilege?

The parliamentary privilege allows members of the House to enjoy certain rights and immunities that enable them to effectively and efficiently perform their parliamentary duties without hindrances. Notably, Erksine May defines parliamentary privileges as “Parliamentary privilege is the sum of the peculiar rights enjoyed by each House collectively and by Members of each House individually, without which they could not discharge their functions, and which exceed those possessed by other bodies or individuals. Thus privilege, though part of the law of the land, is to a certain extent an exemption from the general law.” It is a set of special rights enjoyed by each House collectively and by members of each House individually. Indian Constitution’s Articles 105 and 194 deal with these powers, privileges and immunities.

Why is Parliamentary Privilege in News?

Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar recently directed a parliamentary committee to investigate the alleged breach of parliamentary privilege by 12 opposition MPs for their “disorderly conduct” that caused the frequent adjournments in the first phase of the recent Union Budget.

Parliamentary Privilege in the UK

Freedom of Speech, Freedom from arrest, and Access to the Commons to the Crown. The members who speak in the house cannot be defamed. Nobody shall comment on the speech made by the members of the parliament in the UK.

Parliamentary Privilege in Canada

Freedom of speech, freedom from arrest, exemption from the jury, exemption from appearing as a witness, freedom from interference, obstruction, molestation, and intimidation

Parliamentary privilege in Singapore

Members of the parliament cannot be prosecuted for things that are happening on the floor of the parliament.

Parliamentary Privilege in India

Members of Parliament are not liable for any court proceedings. He or she cannot be questioned for the votes given by him or her.


As you can see, compared to other countries, the parliamentary privileges enjoyed by Indian parliamentarians are very limited.




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