The 'King of Good Times' is part of an unenviable list of MPs who have been expelled from Rajya Sabha, reports Archis Mohan
The Ethics Committee of the Rajya Sabha has decided to expel industrialist Vijay Mallya from the House. While it is rare, it will not be the first time a House of Parliament will move to expel a member.
Most famously, Subramanian Swamy, who took oath on Tuesday as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha, was expelled during the Emergency from the same House. Swamy, then a Jan Sangh leader, was expelled from the Rajya Sabha in 1976. During the subsequent Janata Party government, Indira Gandhi herself was expelled, but the Lok Sabha rescinded its decision later.
In India, legislatures’ power to punish a member by suspending or expelling him or her from the legislative is derived from Article 194 (3) in the case of state legislatures and Article 105 (3) in case of Parliament.
In 2006, 11 members of Parliament (10 of the Lok Sabha and one of Rajya Sabha), who were expelled after the ‘cash-for-query’ sting operation by a private television channel, moved the Supreme Court to challenge their expulsion. They were expelled for accepting money as consideration for raising questions in Parliament.
MPs cannot be punished for such misdemeanours in a court of law, as whatever members do within the House is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts. The two Houses constituted special committees for the purpose, sent them notices, asking them for their defence and eventually found them guilty.
The respective Houses then expelled the MPs by a simple majority. These MPs appealed in the SC. They argued that Article 105 (3) does not specifically spell out Parliament’s powers to expel a member. The SC examined the powers of the House of Commons and held that Indian legislatures had the power to expel members found “unfit”.
Article 102 of the Constitution, however, does specify the grounds for disqualification of an MP. These are: if the member of unsound mind, holds an office of profit other than an office declared by Parliament by law not to disqualify its holder, if s/he is an un-discharged insolvent, not a citizen of India, etc.
MPs other than Vijay Mallya who were disqualified
>> September 25, 1951: H G Mudgal expelled from Lok Sabha for accepting money for favours in (provisional) Parliament
>> November 15, 1976: Subramanian Swamy expelled from Rajya Sabha after a House panel found his conduct derogatory to the dignity of the House
>> November 18, 1977: Indira Gandhi expelled from LS for obstruction, intimidation, harassment and instituting false cases by her against certain officials, who were collecting information to answer a certain question in the House. On December 19, 1978, the House rescinded the motion of expulsion by a resolution
>> December 2005: ‘Cash-for- votes’ -- 11 MPs, including one from RS, expelled