NEW DELHI: A day after Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge was questioned by ED during its search operation at Herald House in connection with money laundering probe, Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday clarified that members of Parliament do not enjoy any immunity from arrest in criminal cases when the House is in session and that they cannot avoid summons issued by law enforcement agencies during such periods.
After the House assembled for the day, proceedings were adjourned for half an hour as Congress members continued their protest against alleged misuse of central probe agencies. Congress members trooped into the well of the House and alleged that Leader of Opposition in RS Mallikarjun Kharge had been insulted as he was summoned by the ED on during the working hours of Parliament.
When the Upper House reassembled after the adjournment, Naidu said there is a wrong notion among the members that they have a privilege from action by agencies while Parliament is in session.
He said under Article 105 of the Constitution, MPs enjoy certain privileges so they can perform their duties without any hindrances.
One of the privileges is that a member of Parliament cannot be arrested in a civil case 40 days before the commencement of the session or committee meeting and 40 days thereafter, Naidu said.
“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,” Naidu clarified.
He cited his past observations in this regard and Supreme Court rulings.
Naidu reiterated that no member of the House should avoid appearing before any investigating agency is he is called upon to do so, by citing reasons of the House duty.