The Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha rejected complaints against 19 MPs as they were filed without following prescribed procedures, prompting Upper House Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to direct officials to create awareness among the public about the functioning of the panel, sources said.
A proposal has also been moved to Ethics Committee Chairman Prabhat Jha to re-examine the present rules regarding admission of complaints against MPs.
Naidu's direction came after a review of the functioning of the Ethics Committee last week. During the meeting, it came to his notice that 22 complaints against 19 members of Rajya Sabha during the last four years had to be returned by the Committee without examination, the sources said.
This was done since complaints were not made in accordance with the prescribed procedure, they said. The Ethics Committee of the Upper House oversees the conduct of members and examines complaints of unethical conduct to enable its effective functioning. The complaints against 19 Rajya Sabha members of eight major parties from both the ruling and opposition benches, besides two independent members, were not taken up for preliminary examination by the Ethics Committee as they were not directly addressed to the authorities mentioned under Rule 295, the sources said.
Of these 22 complaints, 13 were referred to the RS secretariat by the Department of Personnel and Training, four each by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Lok Sabha secretariat, and one by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, on being addressed to them by the complainants.
Now the Rajya Sabha secretariat has forwarded a proposal to the Ethics Committee Chairman to re-examine the present rules regarding admission of complaints.
As per Rule 295 of the 'Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States', any person can make a complaint of unethical conduct against a member of the House in writing either to the Ethics Committee or an officer authorized by the Committee, officials said.
The sources said the Committee can also take up such matters suo moto. Under Rule 296, the Ethics Committee may take up the complaints for preliminary inquiry, if it is made in proper form. Under Rule 303, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha may refer any question involving unethical conduct and other misconduct of a member to the Committee for examination, investigation, and report.
Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha, the first of it's kind for legislatures in the country, was set up in 1997 to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the members as an internal self-regulatory mechanisms. The Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha has so far submitted ten reports, officials said. -