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MPs Can’t Avoid Summons When House Is In Session: RS Chairman Naidu

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Mumbai: Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu said Members of Parliament (MPs) can’t avoid summons by law enforcement agencies in criminal cases “when the session is on or otherwise”.

His statement comes after heavy uproar by the Congress on Enforcement Directorate’s summon to the leader of the opposition Mallikarjun Kharge midway through the session.

Further, Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu on Friday clarified and elucidated that the MPs do not enjoy any special immunity from arrest in criminal cases even when the house is in session.

Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for nearly half an hour till 11.30 am on Friday as Congress members created a ruckus alleging misuse of investigative agencies by the government.

When the Upper House met for the morning session, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu went ahead with the scheduled task of placing the listed papers, but the House had to be adjourned within minutes.

What did the Rajya Sabha chairman say?

When the Upper House resumed after the adjournment at 11:30 pm, Naidu said there was a misconception among the members that they were privileged by the action of the agencies during the Parliament session.

He said that the Members of Parliament have certain privileges under Article 105 of the Constitution so that they can perform their duties without any hindrance.

Naidu said it is a privilege that a Member of Parliament cannot be arrested for 40 days before the commencement of the session or committee meeting and 40 days thereafter, Naidu said, adding that this privilege is already incorporated under Section 135A of the Civil Procedure Court.

Naidu clarified, “However, in criminal matters, Members of Parliament are not at a different footing from an ordinary citizen. This means that Members of Parliament are not exempted from being arrested in any criminal case during the session or otherwise.”

The Congress termed Kharge’s interrogation by the ED as a violation of Parliament protocol and argued that MPs, especially the Leader of the Opposition, cannot be called in the middle of the session.

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