Somnath elected CSPOC Chairperson for two yrs

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New Delhi, Jan 5 (UNI) Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee has been elected Chairperson of the Conference of the Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) for two years.

The election for it was held in London yesterday.

According to a Lok Sabha Secretariat release issued here today, the Speaker earlier delivering his keynote address emphasised that parliamentary privileges were an integral part of the Constitution and, therefore, they belonged to what was known as ''fundamental law''.

Mr Chatterjee stressed that Parliament's privileges did not place a member on a footing different from that of an ordinary citizen in the matter of application of laws. The only purpose and justification for these privileges was to enable the elected representatives discharge their responsibilities and duties ''effectively and efficiently'' without any fear or favour and without any obstruction or hinderance.

Referring to whether the judiciary can interfere in matters of parliamentary privileges, the Lok Sabha Speaker observed that the legislature was the sole authority to judge as to whether or not there had been a breach of privilege in a particular case.

Mr Chatterjee added that he had referred the issue of codification of parliamentary privileges and related matters for the consideration of the committee of privileges, which is now seized of the matter.

The 20th Conference of the Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth will be held here in 2010.

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