MPs can be arrested in criminal cases: Naidu

New Delhi: Rajya Sabha Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday clarified that MPs are not exempt from arrest or detainment while the House is in session and such privilege is limited only in civil cases.

“I want to clarify a wrong notion among the members that they have a privilege from action by the agencies when the session is on… An MP does not enjoy any immunity from being arrested in a criminal case during the session,” said Naidu citing relevant constitutional provisions.

He said that in criminal matters MPs were not on a different footing.

“This freedom from being arrested when the House is in session is limited only to civil cases, not criminal cases,” added Naidu.

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The Chairman gave examples of some previous rulings.

He said that the privilege endowed by the House does not excuse the members from responding to criminal allegations.

House duty cannot be cited as a reason to skip questioning, he said.

Naidu’s clarification came following objections raised by Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday on being issued a summon by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a National Herald case allegedly involving money laundering when the House was in function.

The Rajya Sabha witnessed heated arguments and sloganeering over the summons issues to Kharge.

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