Explained: What are ‘unparliamentary words’ unfit for the House, and how are they compiled?

Source: The post is based on the article “Explained: What are ‘unparliamentary words’ unfit for the House, and how are they compiled?” published in Indian Express on 15th July 2022

What is the News?

Ahead of the Parliament session, the Lok Sabha secretariat has issued a  list of words that will be viewed as unparliamentary in both the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.

What do the Constitution and rules say on the use of words by MPs inside the house?

​​Article 105(2) of the Constitution lays down 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, MPs do not enjoy the freedom to say whatever they want inside the House. Whatever an MP says is subject to the discipline of the Rules of Parliament.

Rule 380 (“Expunction”) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha says: “If the Speaker is of opinion that words have been used in the debate which are defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified, the Speaker may, while exercising discretion order that such words be expunged from the proceedings of the House”.

Rule 381 says: “The portion of the proceedings of the House so expunged shall be marked by asterisks and an explanatory footnote shall be inserted in the proceedings as follows: ‘Expunged as ordered by the Chair”.

What are Unparliamentary Words?

There are phrases and words, literally in thousands, both in English and in Indian languages, that are considered “unparliamentary”. 

The Presiding Officers — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairperson of Rajya Sabha — have the job of keeping such words out of Parliament’s records.

For their reference, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has brought out a bulky tome titled ‘Unparliamentary Expressions’. The last such book was published in 2009.

The state legislatures to are guided mainly by the same book, first compiled in 1999.

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