The powers, privileges and immunities of the State Legislature, its committees and their members are the same as those of Parliament, its committees and its members.
Members are entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as are determined by the Legislature form time to time. At present, there is no uniformity with regard to these among the various States. Nevertheless all of them give regular monthly salaries and certain allowances to their legislators.
The question of the privileges and immunities of the legislature and its members figured prominently in three cases where an attempt was made to persuade the High Courts and the Supreme Court to interfere with the working of the State Legislative Assemblies.
Of these Misra vs. Nand Kishore was a case which came up before the Orissa High Court in which the petitioner challenged the action of the Speaker who disallowed certain questions which he asked on the floor of the Orissa Assembly. The High Court declined to interfere as this was a matter which fell within the exclusive rights of the legislature to regulate. In the second case, Singh vs. Govind, Allahabad High Court was asked to determine the legality or otherwise of certain disciplinary action taken against the petitioner as a member of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly. Here again, the Court refused to intervene. Speaking on behalf of the court, Justice Sapru said: “Obviously, this Court is not, in any sense whatever, a Court of appeal or revision against the legislature or against the rulings of the Speaker, who as the holder of an office of the highest distinction, has the sole responsibility cast upon him of maintaining the prestige and dignity of the House.” He added that under Article 194, the legislature has the right (1) to be the exclusive judge of the legality of its own proceedings, (2) to punish its members for their conduct in the House, and (3) to settle its own proceedings.
Unfortunately, however, there exists a tendency among legislators in India to invoke privileges too frequently. This seems to be the product either of insufficient appreciation of the rights of others to criticize what they do on the floor of the House or an exaggerated feeling of importance of their parliamentary role.
Article 194 of the Constitution describes the powers, privileges, etc., of the House of Legislatures and of the members and committees thereof.
- Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and to the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of the Legislature, there shall be freedom of speech in the Legislature of every State.
- No member of the Legislature of a State shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Legislature or any committee.
- In other respects, the powers, privileges and immunities of a House of the Legislature of a State, and of the members and the committees of a House of such Legislature, shall be such as may from time to time be defined by the Legislature by law, and, until so defined, shall be those of that House and of its members and committees.
Privileges and the British Constitution in concern
Whenever it comes to privileges the biggest question which arises in front of us is why every time when privileges are discussed, the Privileges of Britain is taken into consideration. The answer to my question is that because it is realised that the Britain enjoys the largest and the widest privileges as compared to whole world and hence it the British houses which are taken care of.
The Article 105 need to be taken into consideration at this point of time.
When it comes to power and privileges of the house of parliament its sub clause 3 it shows that the constitution makers themselves wanted that the privileges of United Kingdom should be taken into consideration. But every now and then the approach is largely criticized. It is said that there is one major difference that exist within India and United Kingdom and that need to be taken consideration.
Unlike the British Parliament, the Indian Parliament is not sovereign. It is the Constitution which is supreme and sovereign and Parliament will have to act within the limitations imposed by the Constitution. This is a mark of distinction between British Parliament and the Indian Parliament. British Parliament is sovereign. On the other hand, the Indian Parliament is a creature of the Constitution and its powers, privileges and obligations are specified and limited by the Constitution. A legislature created by a written Constitution must act within the ambit of its power as defined by the Constitution and subject to the limitations prescribed by the Constitution. Any act or action of the Parliament contrary to the constitutional limits will be void.