Why is it in the news?
- An MP from All India Trinamool Congress, recently faced allegations of unethical conduct. It was claimed that she took money to raise specific questions in Parliament, benefiting a businessman.
- Later, the Speaker referred the matter to the Lok Sabha Ethics Committee for examination.
|Consequences of Taking Money|
· If an MP accepts money for raising questions in Parliament, it’s seen as a breach of privilege and contempt.
· Typically, such allegations are examined by the Committee of Privileges and if proven guilty, an MP could be expelled.
More about the news
Lok Sabha Ethics Committee
- It was formed in 2000 to address complaints related to unethical conduct of MPs and formulate a code of conduct.
- However, the term ‘unethical conduct’ remains undefined, giving the committee discretion in its interpretation.
· 1951 Case: H.G. Mudgal faced similar accusations. Although found guilty, he resigned before potential expulsion.
· 2005 Sting Operation: 10 MPs were exposed for taking money. All were subsequently expelled.
Previous Verdicts by the Ethics Committee
- Impersonation Case: An MP misrepresented a female companion as his wife during an official trip, which led to suspension from sittings and a ban on bringing companions.
- Parking Label Misuse: An MP misused a parking label but apologized, leading to case closure.
- Passport Misuse: A grave misconduct where an MP misused passport. A special inquiry recommended expulsion.
Jurisdiction and Limitations
- Unlike judicial probes, which are grounded in laws and rules, parliamentary inquiries are less rigid.
- Critics argue that severe misconduct cases should be under the Committee of Privileges or special committees, and not the Ethics Committee.
- Further, the Parliament doesn’t investigate criminal offences; that’s the domain of investigative agencies.
- Beyond parliamentary actions, MPs can face legal trials, as evidenced by the 10 MPs from the 2005 sting.
|Concerns over Online Question Submission|
· Lok Sabha hasn’t set clear rules for online question submission.
· MPs often share login details with assistants due to their busy schedules.
· Under Article 105 of the Constitution, MPs can source information freely for their parliamentary tasks, without revealing their sources.