Proceedings in Parliament and the Criminal Law*

Since a member of Parliament is not liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any Committee thereof [ Art. 105(2)] , it follows that a member is not amenable to the courts of law for anything said in debate, however criminal in its nature. Thus, the Orissa High Court held that "no law court can take action against a member of the Legislature for any speech made by him there" [ Surendra Mohanty v. Nabhakrishna Choudhury and others, A.I.R. 1958, Orissa 198] .

It has also been held that the disclosures made in the House either by speeches or questions cannot be made the subject matter or a prosecution under the Official Secrets Act [ Report of the Select Committee (House of Commons U.K.) on the Official Secrets Act, (1938-39).-H.C. 101(1938-39)] .

A criminal act committed by a member within the House cannot be regarded as a part of the proceedings of the House, for purposes of protection. Thus, in Maharashtra Legislative Assembly when a member shouted at the operator to connect his mike to the loudspeaker, threw a paper-weight in the direction of the loudspeaker-operator and rushed towards the Speaker and grabbed the mike in front of the Speaker, he was not only expelled from the House but was subsequently convicted under different Sections of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for six months [ P.D. 1967, Vol.XII, 1, pp. 53-54] .

[*Source: Page No. 214 to 215 Practice and Procedure of Parliament. By Dr. Subhash C. Kashyap; Fourth Edition 1991. Published for Lok Sabha Secretariat ]