On October 31, Trinamool Congress leader and MP Mahua Moitra wrote a letter to the Ethics Committee stating that she would respect the summons and appear before the panel on November 2.
What is the issue?
- Lok Sabha Ethics Committee has initiated proceedings against MP Mahua Moitra on allegations of receiving money for posing questions in the Parliament.
- It is also being alleged that she shared a password for online submission of questions. If found guilty, this could be considered a breach of privilege and contempt of the House.
- Ms Mahua Moitra has been accused of several ethical issues, including allegedly accepting bribes for parliamentary questions, using her parliamentary ID without authorization in Dubai while being in India, and her parliamentary login being potentially involved in targeting the Adani Group and the Prime Minister.
- These allegations are concerning as they raise questions about the transparency and integrity of parliamentary proceedings, as well as the ethical conduct of a Member of Parliament.
Previous Expulsion of Parliamentary Members
There have been several instances of corruption in Indian politics over the years.
- In 1951, H.G. Mudgal was found guilty of promoting a business association's interests.
- In 2005, 11 MPs were found guilty of accepting money in exchange for posing questions (known as the Cash-for-Query Scandal).
- In 2008, during a trust vote, some MPs were allegedly offered bribes to vote in favor of the government (known as the Cash-for-Votes Scandal).
About Lok Sabha Ethics Committee
- The Ethics Committee is a parliamentary body responsible for investigating cases of ethical misconduct among Members of Parliament (MPs).
- The Speaker appoints members to the Ethics Committee for a one-year term.
- The Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee was established on March 4, 1997, under the leadership of then Vice President K R Narayanan.
- In 2000, an ad hoc Ethics Committee was formed by late Speaker G M C Balayogi, which later became a permanent part of the House in 2015.
- Complaints can be made by any person through another Lok Sabha MP, with evidence and an affidavit. Members can also complain without providing an affidavit.
- The Speaker has the authority to refer complaints against MPs to the Committee, which conducts a Prima Facie inquiry before examining the complaint. It then presents its report to the Speaker for House consideration, with provision for discussion on the report.
- The Ethics Committee has the authority to investigate cases of misconduct that specifically involve Members of Parliament.
- More serious accusations, especially those related to corruption, typically go to the Privileges Committee. The Ethics Committee and the Privileges Committee often deal with similar issues.
- Both MPs and non-MPs can be examined for Breach of Privilege if their actions attack the authority or dignity of the House. Privileges are applicable to both individual Members and the entire House.