Parts of Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary speech expunged: What does this mean and when does this happen?

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Source: The post is based on the article “Parts of Rahul Gandhi’s parliamentary speech expunged: What does this mean and when does this happen?” published in Indian Express on 11th February 2023.

What is the News?

A portion of a speech delivered by the opposition leader in the Lok Sabha were expunged from the records of Parliament by the Speaker’s orders.

The decision on which parts of the proceedings are to be expunged lies with the Presiding Officer of the House.

What are the rules on expunging from the record?

Article 105(2) of the Constitution states that 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.

– However, their speeches are subject to the discipline of the Rules of Parliament, the “good sense” of its Members and the control of proceedings by the Speaker.

Rule 380 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha gives the Speaker the discretion to expunge any words or expressions used in the debate that is considered defamatory, indecent, unparliamentary or undignified.

What are Unparliamentary words?

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How is the decision to expunge a word (or portion of a speech) taken?

If a member uses a word that could be unparliamentary or indecent and hurts the decorum or dignity of the House, the head of the reporting section sends it to the Speaker or the Presiding Officer citing relevant rules and precedence with a recommendation to expunge them.

The Speaker has the discretion under Rule 380 to expunge the word or usage. Once the Speaker expunges the word or usage, it comes back to the reporting section which removes the word from the records and mentions it in the proceedings as “expunged as ordered by the chair”.

The expunged portions cease to exist in the records of Parliament and cannot be reported by media houses, although they may have been heard during the live telecast of the proceedings.

However, the proliferation of social media has introduced challenges in implementing expunction orders.

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