Editorial 1: House rules and the weapon of expunction


  • The expunction of portions of the speeches made by some Opposition politicians in Parliament recently is an issue that has sparked off a debate on an action taken by the Speaker (in the speech by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi), and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha (in the case of the speech made by Congress President and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge). Mr. Gandhi and Mr. Kharge were both speaking on the Motion of Thanks to the President of India for her address to the Members of Parliament of both Houses.

Constitutional provisions and conventions:

  • This is customary practice although the Constitution does not provide for any such motion, except direct that each House shall discuss the matters contained in the address. This is a practice adopted from the British Parliament.
  • When such a motion is discussed, MPs are generally permitted to speak on anything under the sun. It is an occasion to point out lapses on the government’s part and discuss the gamut of issues that concern the governance of the country. Speeches are generally political and the Chair never insists on relevance.
  • Since the Council of Ministers is collectively responsible to Parliament, MPs have the right to critically scrutinise the performance of the government. Accountability to Parliament requires the government to respond adequately to the questions raised by MPs in the debate. Under the Rules of the House, it is the Prime Minister who replies to the debate in both Houses.

The rules that are in place

  • Article 105 of the Constitution confers on members, freedom of speech in the House and immunity from interference by the court for anything said in the House. Thus, freedom of speech in the House is the most important privilege of a Member of Parliament which is subject only to the other provisions of the Constitution relating to the running of the House and the House Rules.
  • Rule 380 of the Rules of procedure of the Lok Sabha and Rule 261 of the Rules of the Rajya Sabha give the power to the presiding officers of these Houses to expunge any words used in the debate which are defamatory, unparliamentary, undignified or indecent. Once expunged they do not remain on record and if anyone publishes them thereafter, they will be liable for breach of privilege of the House.
  • There are also occasions when an MP may, during his speech, make an allegation against a fellow MP or an outsider. Rule 353 of the Lok Sabha regulates the procedure in that regard. Under this Rule, the MP is required to give “adequate advance notice” to the Speaker as well as the Minister concerned.
  • It may be noted here that the Rule does not prohibit the making of any allegation. The only requirement is advance notice, on receipt of which the Minister concerned will conduct an inquiry into the allegation and come up with the facts when the MP makes the allegation in the House. In this case, it may be noted that the allegation which necessitates advance notice, etc. is of a defamatory or incriminatory nature. It means that if the allegation is neither defamatory nor incriminatory, the above rule would have no application.
  • The rule does not obviously apply to an allegation against a Minister in the government. Since the Council of Ministers is accountable to Parliament, the Members of the House have the right to question Ministers and make imputations against their conduct as Ministers. All that is a part of their duty to ensure the government’s accountability to Parliament. Article 105 gives them the freedom to discharge their duty fearlessly.

Allegations and Speaker rulings

  • However, a Member of Parliament needs to follow a certain procedure while making an allegation against a Minister. Such a procedure has been laid down by Speakers in the past.
  • Making an allegation against a Minister or the Prime Minister is considered to be a serious matter; therefore, the presiding officers have carefully laid down a stipulation that the MP who makes an imputation against a Minister of the government should be sure about the factual basis of the allegation, and that he must take responsibility for it. If the MP complies with this stipulation, then the allegation will be allowed to remain on record. There have been many instances in the Lok Sabha when MPs have made allegations against Ministers.

About Defamation

  • It is an injury to the reputation of a person resulting from a statement that is false. Anyone who feels he or she has been wrongly accused of something by someone in public, through words or gestures, spoken, written, or by inference can file a defamation suit in a court of law claiming that the accusation levelled deals a blow to his/her reputation.
  • Defamation essentially must fulfil the following requirements:
  1. The statement must be published (both oral and written forms publication)
  2. The statement must lower the estimation of the person (damaging to the reputation of the person against whom charges have been made)
  • There are two types of defamation in India: Civil and Criminal.
  1. Civil defamation: Under this, a person who is defamed can move either High Court or subordinate courts and seek damages in the form of monetary compensation. There is no punishment in the form of a jail sentence.
  2. Criminal Defamation: Under this, the person against whom a defamation case is filed might be sentenced to two years’ imprisonment or fined or both.

Issue of defamation in the House:

  • A careful reading of the Rules of the House would reveal that the axe of expunction can be wielded only when the allegations mentioned therein are of defamatory or incriminatory character.
  • Under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) (Second exception), any statement respecting the conduct of a public servant in the discharge of his public function or his character (so far as his character appears in that conduct) is not defamation. If such a statement is made in the House against a Minister who is a public servant, it does not come within the ‘mischief’ of Rule 353 or Rule 380.
  • IPC Section 499 lays down the definition of defamation and Section 500 lays down the punishment for criminal defamation (two years’ imprisonment for a person found guilty of defamation).


  • Therefore, it does not afford an occasion for the presiding officers to expunge words in or portions of a speech on the ground that they are defamatory. It is thus clear that before the weapon of expunction is wielded, it needs to be ascertained whether the speech contains defamatory or incriminatory statements or only critical comments (which a Member of Parliament has the right to make). It also needs to be ensured that the freedom of speech enjoyed by the Members in the House is not needlessly curtailed.

Editorial 2: What are microLED displays, and why is Apple shifting to it?


  • Apple’s shift to microLED display technology is reportedly under process. MicroLED displays will be Apple’s first screens designed and developed in-house. The tech company currently sources screens from other firms like Samsung.

Recent developments:

  • Apple currently makes its own M1 and M2 chips. It has dropped Intel’s chips in its Mac computers to boost in-house designs and plans to do the same with key wireless components in its iPhones. Now, by making the displays on its own, Apple could be in a better position to customise its devices and keep a stronger control on its supply chain, thus reducing delays in product availability.
  • Apple is currently working on this new display technology and plans to implement the same on future watch models starting in 2024, and gradually on its other devices including iPhones and Macs. However, the complications and challenges with the new technology might delay Apple’s plans.
  • Apple had planned to start the transition to microLED screens as early as 2020. But the project languished due to high costs and technical challenges. Apple’s 2024 target could potentially be extended as the technology is still so nascent and complicated.

About microLED technology:

  • Considered the next big transition in display technology, microLEDs are self-illuminating diodes that have brighter and better colour reproduction than Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) display technology.
OLED or organic LED:Also known as organic electroluminescent (organic EL) diode, is a light-emitting diode (LED) in which the emissive electroluminescent layer is a film of organic compound that emits light in response to an electric current. This organic layer is situated between two electrodes; typically, at least one of these electrodes is transparent.
 OLEDs are used to create digital displays in devices such as television screens, computer monitors, and portable systems such as smartphones and handheld game consoles. A major area of research is the development of white OLED devices for use in solid-state lighting applications.
​​​​​​​There are two main families of OLED: those based on small molecules and those employing polymers. Adding mobile ions to an OLED creates a light-emitting electrochemical cell (LEC) which has a slightly different mode of operation. An OLED display can be driven with a passive-matrix (PMOLED) or active-matrix (AMOLED) control scheme.
 In the PMOLED scheme, each row and line in the display is controlled sequentially, one by one, whereas AMOLED control uses a thin-film transistor (TFT) backplane to directly access and switch each individual pixel on or off, allowing for higher resolution and larger display sizes.
  • The basis of microLED technology are sapphires. A sapphire can shine on its own forever. A microLED screen is filled with such small but strong light. The picture in a microLED screen is generated by several individual light-emitting diodes.


Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, consisting of aluminium oxide (α-Al2O3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, or magnesium. Sapphire is one of the two gem-varieties of corundum, the other being ruby.
  • Samsung, the pioneer in microLED technology, explained in a video that a microLED is as small as cutting a centimetre of hair into 200 smaller pieces. Each of these microLEDs are semiconductors that receive electric signals. Once these microLEDs are gathered, they form a module. Several modules are then combined to form screens.

Advantages of MicroLED over other displays:

  • MicroLED displays are brighter, have better colour reproduction and provide better viewing angles than OLED or other display technologies. They make images appear as if they painted on top of the device’s glass
  • MicroLEDs have limitless scalability, as they are resolution-free, bezel-free, ratio-free, and even size-free.
  • The screen can be freely resized in any form for practical usage. In addition to being self-emissive, MicroLEDs also individually produce red, green, and blue colours without needing the same backlighting or colour filters as conventional displays.
  • MicroLED promises even greater luminance/ brightness than other displays, without panel degradation issues. For example, Samsung has come up with MicroLED displays with up to 4,000 nits of peak brightness, roughly double of what the best OLED and LCD TVs are capable of right now.
  • MicroLED offers greatly reduced energy requirements when compared to conventional LCD displays while also offering pixel-level light control and a high contrast ratio.
  • The inorganic nature of microLEDs gives them a longer lifetime advantage over OLEDs and allows them to display brighter images with minimal risk of screen burn-in.


  • Indian private sector in electronics must be encouraged to invest in and develop microLED technology, which seems to be the display technology of the future.


No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *