Now, you can complain against an MP to Speaker

DNA, December 19, 2014

Tired of many key decisions being held up due to unruly behaviour by people’s representatives in Parliament? A solution is in the offing. An aam aadmi (common man) can now approach the Speaker and complaint against a Lok Sabha MP for his/her unruly behaviour.

How has this come about?

In its report, chairperson of the Committee on Ethics, veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader LK Advani, has recommended incorporating new rules in the ‘Rules and Procedure and Conduct of Business Book’ of the Lower House.

These include allowing the committee to take up suo moto cases related to ethics, including matters of unethical conduct by a member or his parliamentary conduct. Significantly, the committee has also recommended that a common man can approach the Speaker complaining against the behaviour of a parliamentarian.

Any conditions?

Plenty. The the complainant has to declare the identity and submit supporting evidence, documentary or otherwise, to substantiate his/her allegations. S/he will also have to submit facts in an affidavit to ensure the complaint is not false, frivolous or vexatious and has been made in good faith.

What if it is an MP complaining?

In case of an MP complaining against another law maker, the identity of the complainant would be kept under wraps if a request to that effect is made. And an MP would also not require an affidavit.

However, a complaint based on unsubstantiated media reports shall not be entertained. Further, the Committee of Ethics will also not take up any matter that is sub-judice.

Permanent status sought for the committee

The 14-member committee headed by Advani has also recommended making the committee a permanent body. “The committee is of the considered view that even today the Committee on Ethics, continues to be an ad-hoc committee of the House. There is need that rules regarding constitution of the committee, its functions etc., be incorporated into the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business Rules of Lok Sabha.

“This would set right the prevailing anomaly of referring to the ethics committee as an ad-hoc committee merely for want of necessary provisions regarding Committee on Ethics in Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha,” the report said.

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