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Thou shall not …
The Speaker of the Assembly has the right to decide whether the Members’ words spoken inside the Assembly can be recorded in the Assembly proceedings. These unparliamentary words should not cause aspersions, be derogatory, not suitable to be uttered and generally slanderous. The Speaker only has the authority to decide whether they should be recorded in the proceedings and can expunge the same.

While the Secretariat has released a booklet, ‘Guidelines for Tamil Nadu Assembly’, detailing  how  members should behave in the Assembly and how they have to adhere to the rules and guidelines set forth for the Assembly,  the book has not explicitly listed the words that are unparliamentary and which should not be used inside the Assembly.

But the Secretariat of the Lok Sabha has recently released a list of unparliamentary words that should not be used inside the Parliament, setting off a furore . With the monsoon session of Parliament due to start on the 18th of this month, the publication of this list of unparliamentary words on the eve of the session has created a lot of heat and objections from the Opposition parties.

The Speaker of the House has the right to decide whether the words are defamatory, abusive, derogatory to the House and indecent. He has the right to expunge the unparliamentary word from the proceedings of the House.
No one can take any action against the members of the Assembly or Parliament based on what they speak inside the House. So, members have the right to speak without restrictions and unbridled freedom inside the House. But they must ensure that whatever they say comes within the purview of the respective House and can communicate without any control over their speech.

The Speaker only has the authority to decide whether Members’ words should be recorded in the proceedings or can expunge the same

At the same time, “Words used in debates should not be slanderous, derogatory, showing disrespect to the esteem of the House, inducing criminal activity or tendency, not as per the rules of House, speaking without permission and blaming members of the House. If it is considered not in order, the Speaker has the right to decide on expunging the unparliamentary word or the portion of the speech from the proceedings of the House and can pass any order to carry out his instructions”. This is clearly described and elaborated in Chapter 23 of the Guidelines for Assembly.

“When members question a Minister during debates inside the House, they should not end up debating, guesswork or assumptions, alleging charges based on hearsay, mocking words and slanderous words should not be used”, as per Chapter 7.

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Former Secretary of Tamil Nadu Assembly M Shanmugha Subramaniyam has listed out the details of unparliamentary words that are not to be uttered in the Assembly while speaking. The book Assembly Guidelines was published in 1985.

  • In the Assembly Guidelines book, chapter 14, under the heading “General Rules to be observed”, lists as follows:
  • When a member is speaking, he should not be interrupted with unparliamentary words, by shouting at him or using any other action or words disrupting his activity
  • The conduct of the House should not be disrupted by any act or sounds/shouts. Moreover, when a debate is under progress in the House, there should not be any running commentary on that
  • The members should ensure that the reports being read in the House should contain only what is relevant to the subject and not something irrelevant, disrespectful and derogatory. The flow of statements should be acceptable and come within general considerations and be decent.
  • Nothing derogatory or disrespectful of the proceedings of the Parliament or Assembly or offensive conduct should be used in the speech.
  • No hidden allegations about the Speaker’s Office or the Secretariat should be included.
  • No observations and comments about any issue that is sub judice should be made.
  • No allegation about an individual member casting aspersions on him should be made
  • No offensive words should be directed against the conduct and proceedings of the Parliament and or any State Assembly that is hurtful should not be used.
  • No comments casting aspersions on the office of the President, State Governor or Court should not be used.
  • Any word against the national interest, damaging the nation’s image and causing treacherous acts against the country should never be used.

Proscribed list
Some of the words (in Tamil) which are not in the esteem of the House and damaging to it have also been listed such as under. English words like disgraceful, brute majority, nonsense, falsehood are also not in favour

Referring to members of the other parties as ROWDIES
Referring to other party members as one with SLAVE MENTALITY
Words such as SILLY and SLANDEROUS
Referring to the Assembly as a BHAJAN CONGREGATION
Referring to the Government as PUPPET RULE
Referring to the majority party as ruling with BRUTE MAJORITY
Referring members as CHAMELEONS
Referring to other parties as MEAN AND HOLLOW
Referring to the proceedings of the House as DISGRACEFUL
Referring to the behaviour of other parties as OUTRAGEOUS
Questioning the opposing parties as to WHAT RIGHT YOU HAVE TO QUESTION
Describing the speech of members as FALSEHOOD
Describing the other’s actions as DEMEANING
Not to use words such as ROWDY BEHAVIOUR, PULLING THE RUG UNDERNEATH, AND CHILDREN OF LOW BIRTH against the speech of other members
Not to describe the speech of other members as NARRATING A STORY or DELIVERING A DISCOURSE
Referring to other parties as VERY LOW BEHAVIOUR
Describing the other party’s activity as SUBSERVIENT and CARRYING THEIR LOAD
Not to describe other members as HAVING FALLEN INSIDE A PIT
Not to call other members as GOOD FOR NOTHING and LIARS
Not to refer to other members as DUMB and UNFIT FOR ANYTHING
Not to refer to the majority strength of other parties as BRUTE MAJORITY
Not to refer to members as DUMB AND QUICK ON FEET
Not to describe the activities of other parties as being DRAMATICAL or STAGE MANNING (sic)
Not to refer to other’s speech as being without ANY LOGIC OR REASON
Not to refer to other’s activity as NONSENSE
Not to refer to the speech of others as shedding CROCODILE TEARS
Not to refer to any individual as SINNER or SPINELESS
Not to refer to the act of other parties as that of ROWDISM.


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