Article 105 of the Constitution

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Overview:

Leader of Opposition in RajyaSabha has argued that that MPs have freedom of speech amid protests against the expunction of parts of his speech on the motion of thanks on the President’s Address

About Article 105:

  • Article 105 deals with “powers, privileges, etc of the Houses of Parliament and of the members and committees thereof”, and has four clauses. These are
    • Freedom of speech is guaranteed in Parliament, subject to the provisions of this constitution and the rules and standing orders governing its conduct.
    • No member of Parliament shall be subject to proceedings in any court with respect to anything said or any vote cast by him in the House of Commons or any of its committees, and no person shall be subject to such liability with respect to the publication of any report, paper, votes, or proceedings by or under the authority of either House of Parliament.
    • In all other respects, each House of Parliament’s members, committees, and powers, privileges, and immunities shall have such powers, privileges, and immunities as may from time to time be determined.
    • The provisions of sections (1), (2), and (3) shall apply to individuals who, pursuant to this constitution, have the right to speak in and otherwise participate in proceedings of a House of Parliament or any committee thereof, in the same manner as they do for members of Parliament.
  • Article 105 envisages Parliamentary Privileges of a House in two different aspects
    • Collective Privileges:  Various privileges such as internal autonomy, power to punish for contempt in case of breach of privileges and also external interferences by strangers, freedom of speech in the debates, and the passing of resolutions expressing the collective opinion of the members for the public interest, rule-making powers, etc. can be enjoyed collectively by the House itself.
    • Individual Privileges:  Privileges such as conferring protection from arrests of the members of both Houses in civil proceedings, freedom of speech and expressions in a much broader manner than that is guaranteed as a fundamental right to every citizen by the Constitution, etc. can be enjoyed by the individual members of the both Houses.

 


Q1) What is breach of privilege?

A breach of privilege is a violation of any of the privileges of MPs/Parliament. Among other things, any action 'casting reflections' on MPs, parliament or its committees; could be considered a breach of privilege. This may include publishing of news items, editorials or statements made in newspaper/magazine/TV interviews or in public speeches.

Source: Article 105 of Constitution: The limits to free speech in Parliament, and what Supreme Court has ruled