NEW DELHI: In a change of rules of Rajya Sabha, the Ethics Committee of the Upper House has authorised two officers of the RS Secretariat to receive complaints of alleged misconduct and violation of code of conduct against the members, oficials said Tuesday.
A bulletin in this regard was issued to the members of RS after the Committee decided rules formulated in 2004 that empowered it to do so.
In a meeting of the committee last week, it was decided to authorise a director and an additional director attached with the committee to receive complaints against the members of the House.
“By this, the committee has expanded the zone of receipt of complaints since at present only complaints addressed to the Committee are valid for examination. Rule 295 (4) of the Rules of Procedure of the House provides that a complaint should be addressed in writing to the Committee or to an officer authorized by it, but this authorization was not done so far,” said Rajya Sabha secretariat.
The authorisation was done, for the first time after 16 years, in the first meeting chaired by Shiv Pratap Shukla, chairman of the committee.
Stating that Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu was keen about the committee being more proactive in pursuit of its mandate, Shukla urged the members of the committee to address ambiguities in the present rules relating to taking up complaints based on media reports and received through mail for effective functioning of the committee.
The committee was constituted in March 1997 as a self-regulatory mechanism of the council to oversee ethical conduct of the members and to examine the cases referred to it.
Prior to July 2004, the rules applicable to the Committee of Privileges were applied to the Ethics Committee.
In 2004, however, the rules were incorporated in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States specifying the functions of the Ethics Committee, procedure for making complaints, the statement said.
The Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha, in its First Report in 1999, formulated a 14-point Code of Conduct for members that requires them not to do anything that brings disrepute to the Parliament and affects their credibility.
It asks them to ensure that their private financial interests do not come in conflict with the public interest, not to be disrespectful to any religion and work for the promotion of secular values, maintaining high standards of morality, dignity, decency and values in public life etc.
Since coming into being, the Ethics Committee has taken up three complaints referred to it by the then chairpersons of the House relating to misuse of Question Hour in 2005, misuse of MPLADS funds in 2006 and default in repayment of bank loans in 2016.
(With PTI Inputs)