03 December, 2019
Syllabus subtopic: Parliament and State Legislatures - structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
News: With two legislators forced to apologise for their remarks in the two sessions of the 17th Lok Sabha, its Ethics Committee is all set to form a code of conduct for MPs in the Lower House. After BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur triggered a controversy with her remarks on Nathuram Godse, the Ethics Committee initiated discussions on it on Monday.
Prelims and Mains focus: About the Parlimentary Committees and their functioning, significance and ways to improve their working
The panel, headed by BJP’s Vinod Kumar Sonkar, met on Monday and decided to seek suggestions as well as views from all political parties for the code that would oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the MPs.
In the meeting, the 14-member committee decided to study code of conduct for the lawmakers in the US, UK and other countries.
A code of conduct had come into force for the Rajya Sabha MPs in 2005.
Instances of violation
SP leader Azam Khan had created controversy in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha with a sexist remark against BJP’s Rema Devi, who was then in the chair,
The ongoing winter session witnessed uproarious scenes when Thakur made a remark about Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Godse.
While Thakur’s remarks were expunged, the Opposition protests forced the ruling BJP to direct her to tender an apology twice on the floor of the House.
The two incidents have made it necessary to lay down a format on code of conduct, especially in the backdrop of new technologies in the communication sector. Unlike in the past, the remarks on the floor of the House spread fast, even if they are expunged from the records. So the MPs will have to follow certain decorum in speaking inside the House as well as outside.
Issues raised by MPs
During the meeting, members warned that such a code will have long lasting impact and thereby it should be “carefully discussed and deliberated in detail”. The political parties would be asked to give their opinions and suggestions, the source said.
The discussions have just begun and no time frame has been finalised to come up with a format. However, they indicated that no decision would be taken in a hurry without proper study.
With proceedings getting disrupted often in the Rajya Sabha, Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has suggested changes in the code so that “disruptive activities” in whatever form can be brought down.
About Ethics Committee
Each of the two houses of the Parliament has an Ethics Committee. They deal with the member’s conduct.
Role of Ethics Committee
Besides overseeing the moral ethical conduct of the members, ethics committee also prepares Code of Conduct for members, which are amended from time to time. The ethics committee in Lok Sabha has 15 members. In Rajya Sabha, this number stands at 10.
Who can file complaint?
Any person may make a complaint to the Committee regarding alleged unethical behaviour or breach of Code of Conduct by a member or alleged incorrect information of a member’s interest. The Committee may also take up matters suo motu.
Where it has been found the member has indulged in unethical behaviour or there is other misconduct, or a member has contravened the rules, the Committee may recommend imposition of one or more of the sanctions. This may include censure, reprimand, suspension, from the House for a specific period or any other sanction determined by the Committee.
Significance of parliamentary committees
Types of committees
Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).
Committee reports are usually exhaustive and provide authentic information on matters related to governance. Bills that are referred to committees are returned to the House with significant value addition. Parliament is not bound by the recommendations of committees.
What these committees do?
Advantages of having such committees:
How can these committees be made more effective?
Source: Indian Express
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