Parliament – Sessions, Procedures, Motions, Committees etc

Arresting a Cabinet Minister

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Immunities of ministers

Mains level : Parliamentary privileges

The Maharashtra Police has arrested the Union Minister for MSMEs for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the CM.

Procedure to arrest a Cabinet Minister

  • If Parliament is not in session, a cabinet minister can be arrested by a law enforcement agency in case of a criminal case registered against him.
  • As per Section 22 A of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business of the Rajya Sabha, the Police, Judge, or Magistrate would, however, have to intimate the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha about the reason for the arrest, the place of detention or imprisonment in an appropriate form.

What is the procedure to be followed by the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha in case of an arrest?

  • The Chairman is expected to inform the Council if it is sitting about the arrest.
  • If the council is not sitting, he/she is expected to publish it in the bulletin for the information of the members.

What about the privileges of the Rajya Sabha members vis-a-vis arrests?

  • As per the main privileges of Parliament, in civil cases, they have freedom from arrest during the continuance of the House and 40 days before its commencement and 40 days after its conclusion, as per section 135 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
  • The privilege of freedom from arrest does not extend to criminal offences or cases of detention under preventive detention.

Can a person be arrested from the precincts of the House?

  • No arrest, whether of a member or of a stranger, can be made within the precincts of the House without the prior permission of the Chairman/Speaker and that too in accordance with the procedure laid down by the Home Ministry in this regard.
  • Similarly, no legal process, civil or criminal, can be served within the precincts of the House without obtaining the prior permission of the Chairman/Speaker whether the House is in session or not.

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Back2Basics: Parliamentary Privileges

  • Article 105 and Article 194 grant privileges or advantages to the members of the parliament so that they can perform their duties or can function properly without any hindrances.
  • Such privileges are granted as they are needed for democratic functioning.
  • These powers, privileges, and immunities should be defined by the law from time to time.
  • These privileges are considered special provisions and have an overriding effect in conflict.

Freedom from being arrested

  • The member of parliament cannot be arrested 40 days before and 40 days after the session of the house.
  • If in any case a member of Parliament is arrested within this period, the concerned person should be released in order to attend the session freely.

Right to exclude strangers from its proceedings and hold secret sessions 

  • The object of including this right was to exclude any chances of daunting or threatening any of the members.
  • The strangers may attempt to interrupt the sessions.

Right to prohibit the publication of its reporters and proceedings 

  • The right has been granted to remove or delete any part of the proceedings that took place in the house.

Right to regulate internal proceedings

  • The House has the right to regulate its own internal proceedings and also has the right to call for the session of the Legislative assembly.
  • But it does not have any authority in interrupting the proceedings by directing the speaker of the assembly.

Right to punish members or outsiders for contempt

  • This right has been given to every house of the Parliament.
  • If any of its members or maybe non-members commit contempt or breach any of the privileges given to him/her, the houses may punish the person.
  • The houses have the right to punish any person for any contempt made against the houses in the present or in the past. 

Article 105(3) and Article 194(3) states that the parliament should from time to time define the laws or pass the laws on the powers, privileges and immunities of the members of the parliament and members of the legislative assembly.

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