Parliamentary Privileges, Freedom of Speech and Judicial Review
Volume III, Issue II, 2020
Parliamentary privileges refer to legal immunity enjoyed by certain members of the legislative houses of particular countries. These privileges provide immunity in the form of protection from civil and criminal acts. These acts include statements made and actions done by these members in the course of their legislative duties. They have also been defined under Article 105 of the Indian Constitution. This research work talks about the types of parliamentary privileges and their relation with freedom of speech and judicial review. Parliamentary privileges and Freedom of Speech go hand-in-hand. Article 105 of the Constitution of India deals with the powers, privileges and immunities of the Houses of Parliament, their members and committees. This article guarantees freedom of speech to every member in Parliament. Further, it also grants these members immunity from proceedings in any court of law in respect of anything said or any vote given by him/her in Parliament or in any of its committees. Are these privileges subject to judicial review? Judicial review refers to the power of the judiciary to interpret the Constitution and declare any law enacted or order passed by the state as void, if the court thinks it to be unconstitutional. Parliamentary privileges and judicial review place the legislature and the judiciary face-to-face. On one hand, the Parliament claims absolute sovereignty when it comes to its privileges, and on the other hand the Judiciary does not accept any kind of restraint on its judicial review power. This has led to numerous conflicts between the two highest organs of the State. Emphasis has also been laid on whether parliamentary sovereignty is immune from judicial review citing the examples of India and the United Kingdom. This research work aims to display how these three broad terms complement each other in the modern context.