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Lok Sabha’s Ethics Committee UPSC NOTE

 Previous instances of illegal gratification for doing parliamentary work

  • In the first case, in 1951, H.G. Mudgal, an MP of the Provisional Parliament, was found guilty of promoting the interests of a business association in return for financial benefits. 

  • A special committee of the House found that his conduct was derogatory to the dignity of the House But he resigned before he was expelled by the House .

  • In 2005, a sting operation by a private channel showed 10 Members of the Lok Sabha accepting money for putting questions up in Parliament. 

Previous instances of illegal gratification for doing parliamentary work

  • An MP misused the car parking label issued by Parliament. The case was referred to the Ethics Committee which, after examination of the case, closed it as the MP owned up to his mistake and apologised.

  • In another case, an MP took along a woman and a boy on a foreign tour using the passports of his wife and son. This was treated as a serious case as it involved the violation of the Passports Act.


Previous instances of illegal gratification for doing parliamentary work

  • Again, a special committee was appointed which found them guilty of conduct unbecoming of a member and recommended their expulsion which was accepted by the House

  • All the MPs were expelled. 

  • Complaints of MPs accepting money for parliamentary work are referred to the privileges committee or special committees appointed by the House for that purpose. 

Whether the term ‘unethical conduct’ defined anywhere?

  • An interesting aspect of this committee is that the term ‘unethical conduct’ has not been defined anywhere. 

  • It is left entirely to the committee to examine a particular act of conduct and decide whether it is unethical or not. 

  • A couple of cases decided in the past certainly point to the type of conduct which can be called unethical. 

  • There are also cases of misconduct which were either examined by the ethics committee or special committees.

Parliamentary probe and a Judicial probe

  • A parliamentary probe is not the same as a judicial probe. 

  • A judicial body probes a matter as in the statutes and Rules, and is conducted by judicially trained persons. 

  • Parliamentary committees consist of Members of Parliament who are not experts

  • Since Parliament has the power to scrutinise the executive, which is accountable to it, it possesses investigative power also. 

  • It also has the power to punish those including its own members in order to protect its honour and dignity.

  • The methods followed by Parliament in investigating a matter are different from those of the judiciary. 

  • Parliament does the investigative work through its committees which function under the Rules of the House. 

  • The usual methods are examination of the written documents placed before the committee by the complainant.

  • If the committee examines a complaint against a member, he can appear before it through an advocate and also cross-examine the complainant.

Online submission of questions 

  • The issue of MPs sharing their password and login details with another person has come into focus now. 

  • In reality, MPs do not have the time to sit down and write out questions. 

  • So, they are said to be sharing the password with personal assistants, which can be called a practical necessity. 

  • Lok Sabha does not seem to have framed any rules to regulate the online submission of questions. 

  • An MP is free to engage any person to do his parliamentary work. 

  • He also does not have any obligation to disclose the sources from where he gets information to do his parliamentary work. 

Article 105

  • Article 105 of the Constitution gives them the freedom to say “anything” in the House

  • This right should be deemed to be extended to the tapping of any source for information for putting questions up or framing Bills or resolutions to be placed in Parliament. 

  • Therefore, an investigation into the sources of information of an MP may not have legal sanction. 

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Lok Sabha’s Ethics Committee UPSC NOTE
Lok Sabha’s Ethics Committee UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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