(1) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution and to the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of the Legislature, there shall be freedom of speech in the Legislature of every State.

 

(2) No member of the Legislature of a State shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Legislature or any committee thereof, and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of a House of such a Legislature of any report, paper, votes or proceedings.

 

(3) In other respects, the powers, privileges and immunities of a House of the Legislature of a State, and of the members and the committees of a House of such Legislature, shall be such as may from time to time be defined by the Legislature by law, and, until so defined, shall be those of that House and of its members and committees immediately before the coming into force of section 26 of the Constitution (Forty-fourth Amendment) Act, 1978.

 

(4) The provisions of clauses (1), (2) and (3) shall apply in relation to persons who by virtue of this Constitution have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, a House of the Legislature of a State or any committee thereof as they apply in relation to members of that Legislature.

Debate Summary

Article 169, Draft Constitution, 1948 

(1) Subject to the rules and standing orders regulating the procedure of the Legislature, there shall be freedom of speech in the Legislature of every State.

(2) No member of the Legislature of a State shall be liable to any proceedings in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in the Legislature or any committee thereof, and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of a House of such a Legislature of any report, paper, votes or proceedings.

(3) In other respects the privileges and immunities of members of a House of the Legislature of a State shall be such as may from time to time be defined by the Legislature by law, and until so defined, shall be such as are enjoyed by the members of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom at the commencement of this Constitution.

(4) The provisions of clauses (1), (2) and (3) of this article shall apply in relation to persons who by virtue of this Constitution have the right to speak in, and otherwise take part in the proceedings of, a House of the Legislature of a State as they apply in relation to members of that Legislature.

 

Draft Article 169 (Article 194) was debated on 3rd June 1949 and 16th October 1949. It provided certain privileges and immunities to members of the State Legislature.

 

A member wanted to amend the Draft Article to extend the privileges and immunities to individuals who participate in committees set up by either House of the State Legislature so that theylmay to act freely and without reservation while performing their duties. This amendment was adopted without debate.

 

Another member expressed concern about clause (3), which defined the immunities as analogous to those available to members of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom. He pointed out that the UK had an unwritten Constitution, and therefore the immunities were ‘nowhere collected in a systematic form’, making it difficult for Members to understand their exact scope. He proposed the creation of a Schedule defining these immunities and privileges. The Chairman of the Drafting Committee argued that defining all available immunities and privileges would be too lengthy to include in the Constitution.

 

The amended Draft Article was adopted on 3rd June 1949.

 

Subsequently, a member of the Drafting Committee proposed to substitute clause (3) with the following:

'In other respects, privileges, immunities and powers of a House of the Legislature of a State and of the members and the committees of a House of such Legislature shall be such as may from time to time be defined by the Legislature by law, and until so defined, shall be those of the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and of its members and committees at the commencement of this Constitution. ' 

 

He stated that a similar amendment had been accepted to Draft Article 85 (Article 105) on the immunities and privileges for Members of Parliament.

 

The amendment was accepted without debate on 16th October 1949.