National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, 1956
- Commenced on 28 September 1956
- [This is the version of this document as it was at 31 December 1996 to 9 June 2016.]
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"Assembly" means the National Assembly;"authorised committee" means any standing committee, sessional committee or select committee of the Assembly;"Clerk" means the Clerk of the Assembly and includes any person acting as such on the authority of the Speaker;"committee" means any standing, select or other committee of the Assembly;"meeting" means the period between the time when the Assembly first assembles after being summoned and the time at which it is adjourned sine die;"member" means any member of the Assembly and includes the Speaker;"officer" means the Clerk or any other officer or person acting within the precincts of the Assembly Chamber under the orders of the Speaker;"precincts of the Assembly Chamber" means the chamber in which the Assembly sits in session for the transaction of business, together with the offices, rooms, lobbies, galleries, courtyards, gardens and other places provided for the use or accommodation of members, officers or strangers, and any passages connecting such places, and any other places immediately contiguous thereto as may from time to time be designated by the Speaker;"Standing Orders" means the Standing Rules and Orders of the Assembly which came into force on the 2nd August, 1974, and any order or rules of procedure amending or replacing them made in pursuance of the provisions of the Constitution;[Cap. 1]"stranger" means any person other than a member or an officer;"votes and proceedings" means the official daily record of the proceedings in the Assembly.[As amended by No. 68 of 1957, S.I. No. 174 of 1965 and No. 23 of 1976]
Part II – Privileges of the Assembly and its officers
3. Freedom of speech and debateThere shall be freedom of speech and debate in the Assembly. Such freedom of speech and debate shall not be liable to be questioned in any court or place outside the Assembly.
4. Immunity from legal proceedingsNo civil or criminal proceedings may be instituted against any member for words spoken before, or written in a report to, the Assembly or to a committee thereof or by reason of any matter or thing brought by him therein by petition, Bill, resolution, motion or otherwise.
5. Freedom from arrestFor the duration of a meeting members shall enjoy freedom from arrest for any civil debt except a debt the contraction of which constitutes a criminal offence.
6. Exemption from certain services
7. Power to exclude strangers
8. Evidence of proceedings in Assembly or committee not to be given without leave
9. Civil process not to be served nor members arrested on civil process within precincts of the Assembly ChamberNotwithstanding anything to the contrary, no process issued by any court of Zambia or outside Zambia in the exercise of its civil jurisdiction shall be served or executed within the precincts of the Assembly Chamber while the Assembly is sitting, or through the Speaker or any officer of the Assembly, nor shall any member be arrested on civil process, save by the leave of the Speaker first obtained, while he is within the precincts of the Assembly and while the Assembly is sitting.
Part III – Evidence
10. Power to order attendance of witnessesThe Assembly or any authorised committee may, subject to the provisions of sections thirteen, fourteen and twenty, order any person to attend before the Assembly or before such committee and to give evidence or to produce any paper, book, record or document in the possession or under the control of such person.[As amended by Act No. 23 of 1976]
11. Attendance to be notified by summons
12. Witnesses may be examined on oath
13. Objection to answer question or produce papers
14. Privileges of witnesses
15. Certificate issued to witnesses making full disclosure to be a bar to civil or criminal proceedings
16. False evidenceAny person who before the Assembly or any authorised committee intentionally gives a false answer to any question material to the subject of inquiry which may be put to him during the course of any examination shall be guilty of an offence against section one hundred and four of the Penal Code.[Cap. 87]
17. Interference with witnessesAny person who—
18. False documentsAny person who presents to the Assembly or to any committee any false, untrue, fabricated or falsified document with intent to deceive the Assembly shall, where such presentation does not constitute an offence under section sixteen, be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand penalty units or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding six months, or to both.[As amended by Act No. 13 of 1994]
19. ContemptsAny person shall be guilty of an offence who—
20. Questions relating to evidence and production of documents before the Assembly or a committee to be determined in accordance with usage of ParliamentWhere at any time any question arises in the Assembly or in a committee regarding—
Part IV – Offences and penalties
21. Penalty where not otherwise providedFor every offence under this Act for which no other penalty is specially provided, the offender shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred penalty units or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding three months, or to both.[As amended by Act No. 13 of 1994]
22. Corrupt or improper practices
23. Other offences against members and officersAny person shall be guilty of an offence who—
24. DisobedienceAny person commits an offence who wilfully and without lawful cause fails to comply with, or contravenes, any order made under section seven or ten, or who wilfully fails to obey any other order of the Assembly whereby the Assembly is obstructed in the performance of its functions:Provided that no offence is committed under this section unless the Speaker or an officer has drawn to the attention of the person concerned the fact that such failure or contravention is contrary to such order, and the person thereafter continues in such failure or contravention as aforesaid.
25. Other offencesAny person who—
26. Officers of the Assembly to have powers of police officerEvery officer of the Assembly shall, for the purposes of this Act and of the application of the provisions of the criminal law, have all the powers and enjoy all the privileges of a police officer.
27. Sanction of Director of Public Prosecutions for prosecutionsNo prosecution shall be instituted for an offence under this Act except by the Director of Public Prosecutions upon information given to him in writing by the Speaker.[As amended by S.I. No. 174 of 1965]
28. Powers of the Assembly
Part V – Miscellaneous
29. ***[Repealed by Act No. 23 of 1976]
30. Votes and proceedings, printed by order of the Assembly to be admitted as evidenceUpon any inquiry touching the privileges, immunities and powers of the Assembly or of any member, any copy of the votes and proceedings or Standing Orders printed or purporting to be printed by the Government Printer, or any copy of the votes and proceedings, or Standing Orders duly authenticated as such under the hand of the Clerk, shall be admitted as evidence of such votes and proceedings or Standing Orders in all courts and places without any further proof being given.[As amended by Act No. 23 of 1976]
31. Protection of persons responsible for publications authorised by the AssemblyAny person, being a defendant in any civil or criminal proceedings instituted for or on account or in respect of the publication by such person or by his servant, by order or under the authority of the Assembly of any reports, papers, minutes, votes or proceedings, may, on giving to the plaintiff or prosecutor, as the case may be, twenty-four hours' written notice of his intention, bring before the court in which such civil or criminal proceedings are being held a certificate under the hand of the Speaker stating that the reports, papers, minutes, votes or proceedings in respect whereof such civil or criminal proceedings have been instituted were published by such person or by his servant by order or under the authority of the Assembly together with an affidavit verifying such certificate, and such court shall thereupon immediately stay such civil or criminal proceedings and the same and every process issued therein shall be deemed to be finally determined.
32. Publication of proceedings without maliceIn any civil or criminal proceedings instituted for publishing any extract from or abstract of any report, paper, votes and proceedings, referred to in section twenty-five, if the court be satisfied that such extract or abstract was published bona fide and without malice, it shall enter judgment or verdict, as the case may be, for the defendant or accused.[As amended by Act No. 23 of 1976]
33. Powers to be supplementary to powers under the ConstitutionThe powers of the Assembly and of the Speaker under this Act shall be supplementary to any powers conferred by the Constitution or Standing Orders.[As amended by G.N. No. 421 of 1962 and S.I. No. 174 of 1965][Cap. 1]
34. Courts not to exercise jurisdiction in respect of acts of the Assembly, Speaker and officersNeither the Assembly, the Speaker nor any officer shall be subject to the jurisdiction of any court in respect of the exercise of any power conferred on or vested in the Assembly, the Speaker or such officer by or under the Constitution, the Standing Orders and this Act.[As amended by Act No. 23 of 1976]
35. Absence of the Speaker, etc.
History of this document
10 June 2016 amendment not yet applied
31 December 1996 this version
28 September 1956