Chairman of the Rajya Sabha on summons sent to lawmakers when the house is in session

On Friday, Rajya Sabha proceedings were postponed for roughly 30 minutes until 11:30 am as a result of a commotion caused by Congress members who claimed the government had abused its investigative agencies.

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M. Venkaiah Naidu, the chairman of the Rajya Sabha, made it clear on Friday that lawmakers do not have any protection from arrest in criminal cases while the House is in session and cannot evade summonses from law enforcement.

On Friday, Rajya Sabha proceedings were postponed for roughly 30 minutes until 11:30 am as a result of a commotion caused by Congress members who claimed the government had abused its investigative agencies.

The Upper House convened for its morning session, and Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu started the scheduled business of placing the listed documents on the table. However, he quickly had to adjourn the House.

More than ten members of Congress descended upon the House well to voice their opposition to the alleged abuse of the central investigation agency. The Congress MPs said that Mallikarjun Kharge, the leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, had been “insulted” by the Enforcement Directorate for summoning him on Thursday during the working hours of Parliament.

M. Venkaiah Naidu stated that there is a misconception among the members that they have a privilege from agency action when Parliament is in session when the Upper House reconvened after the recess at 11:30 am.

According to him, members of Parliament are granted specific privileges under Article 105 of the Constitution to enable them to carry out their duties without interference.

According to Naidu, one of the privileges is that a member of Parliament is not permitted to be detained in a civil matter 40 days prior to the start of the session or committee meeting and 40 days after. He added that this protection is already included under Section 135A of the Civil Procedure Court.

“However, in criminal matters, members of Parliament are not on a different footing than a common citizen. That means members of Parliament do not enjoy any immunity from being arrested in a criminal case during the session or otherwise,” M Venkaiah Naidu clarified.

He cited Supreme Court decisions as well as his prior remarks in this regard.

M. Venkaiah Naidu reaffirmed that if called upon to do so, no member of the House should refuse to do so on the grounds that doing so is his obligation as a member of the House.

“It applies to all…because you can only perform when the House is in session seeking further date but you cannot avoid the enforcement agencies or the law enforcement agencies’ summons or notices. This has to be taken note of by one and all,” the Rajya Sabha Chairman said.