Breach of Privilege

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Mar 29, 2022, 13:22

A member of parliament enjoys some special rights, immunity, exemptions and privileges entrusted to them by the parliament. When any of these rights are being disregarded, or any offence is practised against the rights, it is termed as a Breach of Privilege and is undoubtedly a punishable act when held guilty.

Breach of Privilege Rules

The following are the rules governing the privileges:

  • Article 105 of the constitution mention the freedom of speech in parliament, which protects speech during the proceedings of the house and prohibits the use of unparliamentary language and the conduct of a member.
  • It also mentions the right to publish its proceedings when fearlessly and freely the member speaks their minds during the House proceedings.
  • In chapter 20 of the Lok Sabha rule book, rule no. 222 and rule no. 187 in the rulebook of Rajya Sabha mentions the privileges for the members of parliament.
  • By addressing the speaker, any Member can question the Breach of Privileges of any individual member of the house.
  • It is mandatory to be related to any recent incident requiring the intervention of the house.
  • Freedom from arrest and the right to punish members or outsiders for contempt.
  • Right to regulate the internal proceedings of the house and exclude unknown or outsiders.
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Vital Examples of the Breach of Privilege

Some of the very common and typical kinds of Breach of Privileges that are punishable and can be regarded as offensive are

  • Reflections on the character.
  • Publication of the distorted report.
  • Expunged proceedings of the hours.
  • Impartiality of the speaker in the discharge of their duty and even publication of the secret sessions held by the members of the parliament.

Such acts are imposed with a penalty or punishment like caution or reprimand or, worse, like suspension or expulsion from the house.

In the case of Breach of Privilege, the penal powers are fractionated only in extreme cases of disrespect and undermining public confidence in and support of parliament. It should not discourage the freedom of expression of opinion of any member of parliament.

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FAQs on Breach of Privilege

Q1. What is a Breach of Privilege?

Ans: Violation of the privileges referring to rights and immunities enjoyed by the members of the parliament is a Breach of Privilege.

Q2. In the case of Breach of Privilege, what punishment is practised?

Ans: Contingent on the severity of the Breach of Privileges, punishment may vary from warning to expulsion or suspension from the house or even imprisonment.

Q3. What constitutes a Breach of Privileges?

Ans: Any member of parliament offending against the dignity or authority of the house and directly or indirectly obstructing or impeding any member in discharging his duty can be considered a Breach of Privileges.

Q4. What is the general procedure in case of an alleged breach?

Ans: Depending on the party's strength in the house, quasi-judicial powers are exercised by the chairpersons, or the speaker decides the motion and forwards it to the privilege committee by abiding by the due procedures regarding the house's dignity.