Budget Session begins and suspension of Opposition MPs revoked
Jan. 31, 2024

Why in news?

  • On the eve of Parliament’s Budget Session, the suspension of 14 Opposition MPs — 11 from Rajya Sabha and three from Lok Sabha — was revoked.
  • This was done to enable them to attend the customary President’s address to both Houses of Parliament.

What’s in today’s article?

  • Parliamentary Sessions
  • Suspension of MPs
  • News Summary

Parliamentary Sessions

  • Constitutional provisions with respect to Parliamentary Sessions
    • Article 85 of the Indian Constitution states that the President can summon each House of Parliament to meet at a time and place of their choosing.
    • The President can also prorogue, or end, a parliamentary session, or dissolve the Lok Sabha.
  • Power to convene a session of Parliament
    • The Central government has the authority to call for a session.
    • The Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs (CCPA), which includes several Cabinet ministers, determines the date and number of sittings.
    • After finalising the session schedule, the President calls upon the Members of Parliament to convene for the upcoming session.
    • The MPs are informed about the number of sittings and other details about the tentative business of the House through the summons sent by the President.
  • Timetable
    • The Constitution doesn’t provide for a fixed number of sessions or days of sitting.
    • However, three sessions are typically held each calendar year — the Budget, Monsoon, and Winter sessions.
  • Current status
    • The longest, the Budget Session, starts towards the end of January, and concludes by the end of April or first week of May.
      • This session has a recess so that Parliamentary Committees can discuss the budgetary proposals.
    • The second session is the three-week Monsoon Session, which usually begins in July and finishes in August.
    • The parliamentary year ends with a three week-long Winter Session, which is held from November to December.

Suspension of MPs

  • It is the role and duty of the Presiding Officer — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha — to maintain order so that the House can function smoothly.
  • In order to ensure that proceedings are conducted in the proper manner, the Speaker/ Chairman is empowered to force a Member to withdraw from the House.

Rules under which the Presiding Officer/Chairman acts

  • For Lok Sabha
    • Rule Number 373 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business
      • It empowers presiding officers to direct an MP to withdraw from the House for any disorderly conduct.
      • This rule says that any Member so ordered to withdraw shall remain absent during the remainder of the day’s sitting.
    • Rules 374 and 374A- To deal with more recalcitrant Members.
      • Rule 374 empowers the Presiding officers to name the legislators if the MP continues disrupting the House even after repeated warnings.
      • After that, the House can move a motion to suspend the MP for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session
      • Rule 374A was incorporated in the Rule Book in December 2001.The intention was to circumvent the necessity of adopting a motion for suspension.
        • Under this rule, the Speaker can name an MP, who shall then automatically stand suspended for five days or the remaining part of the session.
  • For Rajya Sabha
    • Rule 255 of the Rule Book of Rajya Sabha
      • It empowers the Chairman of Rajya Sabha to direct any Member to withdraw immediately from the House for any disorderly conduct.
    • Rule 256
      • This rule empowers the Chairman to name the members who persistently disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council.
      • After that, the House may adopt a motion suspending the Member for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.
    • It should be noted that, unlike Lok Sabha (under rule 374A), Rajya Sabha can not suspend its members without passing a motion for the same.

News Summary: Budget Session begins and suspension of Opposition MPs revoked

  • The Budget session of Parliament, the last of the 17th Lok Sabha (LS), will begin with the President’s address to a joint sitting of both Houses on January 31.
  • 14 Opposition MPs, suspended during the last session and their cases referred to the Privileges Committees, will return to attend the Budget session.
    • A record 146 Opposition MPs, from both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, were suspended during the Winter Session.
    • They were suspended for disrupting proceedings to press their demand for a statement from Home Minister on the Parliament security breach on December 13.
    • While the other MPs were suspended for the remainder of the Winter Session, the suspension of 14 MPs was referred to the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha privileges committees.
  • The Chairs in the two Houses have agreed to the government’s request to revoke their suspensions.