Discipline, discussion – Parliament as a forum of executive accountability | 22nd February 2023 | UPSC Daily Editorial Analysis

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What's the article about?

  • It talks about the role of the parliament as a forum to hold the executive accountable.


  • GS2: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these;
  • Prelims


  • Recently, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar directed the Privileges Committee to investigate the “disorderly conduct” by 12 Opposition MPs that had led to multiple adjournments during the first leg of the Budget session.
  • All through the Prime Minister’s 85-minute address, the Opposition kept raising slogans.
  • The Opposition cried foul that due procedure had not been followed and that she had not been served a notice giving her a chance to explain her position.

What is the Privileges Committee?

  • Privileges Committee’s function is to examine every question involving breach of privilege of the House or of the members of any Committee therefore referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.
  • It  consists of 15 members (10 members in case of Rajya Sabha) nominated by the Speaker (Chairman in case of Rajya Sabha).
  • It determines with reference to the facts of each case whether a breach of privilege is involved and makes suitable recommendations in its report.
  • The Speaker/Chairman may refer to the Committee any petition regarding disqualification of a member on ground of defection for making a preliminary inquiry and submitting a report to him.

How does Parliament ensure the Executive's accountability in Parliament?

  • Parliamentary tools:
    • Question-hour, zero hour, calling attention motion, adjournment motion, no-confidence motion, censure motion, and other discussions.
  • MPs may pose questions to ministers related to the implementation of laws and policies by the government.
  • Budgetary control for appropriation of grants and post-budgetary control through committees like Public Accounts Committees.
  • The system of committees – such as standing committees, select committees and adhoc committees etc. – facilitate scrutiny of the actions and activities of the executive.


  • Parliament is the platform where the Opposition has the responsibility to ask questions of the government, which the Council of Ministers has the responsibility to answer.
  • There are parliamentary rules and norms that have evolved over time to achieve this objective.
  • It will be a travesty of parliamentary democracy if the Opposition is penalised for seeking accountability from the government, which in turn is allowed to hide behind rules and obfuscate the issue.
  • It is the government that is in custody of all the information, over which queries are raised in Parliament.
  • The authenticity, or the lack of it, of any assumption that an MP may express in the House must be clarified by the government, which is its duty.
  • It is a strange situation that the government has not responded to the serious allegations that it faces of protecting private business interests at the cost of public interest, while those who are raising the questions face suspension in the name of discipline.

Way Forward:

  • Constructive debates in parliament are vital for democracy to function successfully. Thus Parliamentary discipline must ensure that discussions take place, and the government provides the answers.

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