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Unparliamentary Language

PM Modi – ‘’I heard a Congress leader say yesterday that youth will hit Modi with sticks in 6 months. I have decided that I will increase my frequency of ‘Surya Namaskar’ so that my back becomes so strong that it can bear the hit of so many sticks.’’

As Rahul Gandhi appeared to be attempting to say something, the Prime Minister further remarked: “I have been speaking for 30-40 minutes but it took this long for the current to reach. Bahut ** ******** aise hi hotey hai”.

What are privileges given to MPs?

Parliamentary privileges are special rights, immunities and exemptions enjoyed by the two Houses of Parliament, their committees and their members.

They are necessary in order to secure the independence and effectiveness of their actions

Parliament, till now, has not made any special law to exhaustively codify all the privileges.

They are based on five sources, namely,
1. Constitutional provisions,
2. Various laws made by Parliament,
3. Rules of both the Houses,
4. Parliamentary conventions,
5. Judicial interpretations.

Absolute freedom of speech for MP?

Article 105(2) of the Constitution –
No Member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof.

‘Points to be observed by members while speaking’ and expunction of unparliamentary expressions from
proceedings are governed by Rules 352, 353, 380 and 381 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha/Rajya Sabha.

The freedom of speech available to MPs is subject to the provisions of the Constitution and to the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of Parliament

Whatever an MP says is subject to the discipline of the Rules of Parliament, the “good sense” of Members, and the control of proceedings by the Speaker.

These checks ensure that MPs cannot use “defamatory or indecent or undignified or unparliamentary words” inside the House.

The Rules for Expunction of remarks

Rule 380 (“Expunction”) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha says:

If the Speaker is of opinion that words have been used in debate which are defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified, the Speaker may, while exercising discretion, order that such words be expunged from the proceedings of the House.”

Rule 381 says:

“The portion of the proceedings of the House so expunged shall be marked by asterisks and an explanatory footnote shall be inserted in the proceedings as follows: ‘Expunged as
ordered by the Chair’.”

Rule 353 says :

‘’no allegation of a defamatory or incriminatory nature shall be
made by a member unless the member has given adequate
advance notice to the Speaker and also to the Minister

Chair’s discretion

On certain occasions, the Chair has also ordered, in its discretion, expunction
of words considered to be:—

1. Prejudicial to national interest

2. Prejudicial to the maintenance of friendly relations with a foreign State

3. Derogatory to high dignitaries, including heads of friendly foreign States

4. Likely to offend national sentiments or affect the religious susceptibilities of a section of the community

5. Likely to discredit the Army

6. Not in good taste or otherwise objectionable

7. Likely to bring the House into ridicule or lower the dignity of the Chair, the House or its members.

Unparliamentary expressions
There are many phrases and words in English and other Indian languages, that are “unparliamentary”.

The Presiding Officers — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairperson of Rajya Sabha — have the job of keeping these bad words out of Parliament’s records.

Lok Sabha Secretariat has brought out a book – ‘Unparliamentary Expressions’

The book was first compiled in 1999

The 2004 revised edition runs into 900 pages!

The list contains several words and expressions that would probably be considered rude or offensive in most cultures.

It also has stuff that is likely to be thought of as being fairly harmless or innocuous.

Depending upon rulings of the presiding officers, new words and phrases continue to be added to the list at regular intervals. (Pappu,damaad, Godse*)

Examples of Unparliamentary words

Bad (Context*)
lazy fools
bloody liar
bloody Chair
bloody fellow
bucket of shit


Sometimes, the context in which a word is used may make it unparliamentary.

For instance, members do frequently refer to market economy,stock market or shortage of essential commodities in the
market, but reference to the House as a “market place” has been held to be unparliamentary.

The government or another MP cannot be accused of “bluffing”. “Bribe”, “blackmail”, “bribery”, “thief”, “thieves”

An MP can’t be called a “racketeer”, a “radical extremist”, a “rat”, or a “dirty little rat”.

No Member or Minister can be accused of having “deliberately concealed”, “concocted”, of being of a “confused mind”, or being “confused and unintelligent”.

The government can’t be called “andhi-goongi”, or one of “Ali Baba aur 40 chor”.

An illiterate MP can’t be called “angootha chhaap”, and it is unparliamentary to suggest that a member should be sent to
the “ajayabghar” (museum).

Unparliamentary words by Prime minister

Narendra Modi is officially the first PM to have his remarks expunged twice from record of Parliament for unparliamentary language.

• August 2018 – Rajya Sabha – BK Hariprasad
• February 2020 – Lok Sabha – Rahul Gandhi

In 2013, some words were expunged from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s comments in the Rajya Sabha during a heated argument with then Opposition leader Arun Jaitley.

What happens when expunction takes place ?

The portions of each day’s proceedings which are not permitted by the Chair to go on record or which are expunged subsequently are erased from the original tapes the very next day.

Restrictions on publication of expunged portions.

The Press is expected to take note of the orders of expunction or non-recording passed in the House.

Intimation of the expunction is also given to the Press by the Secretariat.

Non-receipt of such intimation by Press correspondents does not, however, protect them from the consequences that
might ensue as a result of the publication of the expunged or non-recorded words.

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