Home » Documents » List of Documents » Rules of Procedure for Committees

Rules of Procedure for Committees

Logo of the National Assembly

The National Assembly

Republic of Seychelles

Rules of Procedure for Committees

14th April 2009



1.        Definitions/Interpretations

2.        Composition of Committees

3.        Nomination and Replacement of Members of Committees

4.        First Meeting of any Committee

5.        Election of Chairperson and Acting Chairperson

6.        Duties and functions of the Chairperson

7.        Convening of Committee Meetings

8.        Agenda and Notice for Committee Meetings

9.        Minutes of Committee Meetings

10.        Committee Quorum

11.        Tendering of Apologies

12.        Attendance of Members

13.        Casting vote of Chairperson

14.        Committee Business

15.        Declaration of Private Interests to Committees and Forums

16.        Nomination of Rapporteurs

17.        Report Back

18.        Standing Committees

19.        Terms of Reference of Standing Committees

20.        Standing Committee on Standing Orders

21.        Standing Committee on Finance and Public Accounts

22.        Select Committees

23.        Reports and Minority Opinion

24.        Summonses

25.        Open Committee Meetings

26.        Public Hearings

27.        Examining of Witnesses

28.        Publication of Proceedings/Evidence

29.        Witness Expenses

30.        Motions in Committee

31.        Written Vote

32.        Duties and Functions of the Committee Secretary

33.        Visits by a Committee

34.        Restrictions

35.        Committee decisions with Cost Implications

36.        Allowances to Committee Members


In these Rules,


“Act” means a Bill having been passed by the Assembly, assented to by the President and published in the Gazette.


“Adopt” means the acceptance of an amendment, motion or resolution before a Committee.


“Amendment” means a proposal to change any matter or issue before the Assembly and includes new drafts of proposals on existing laws.


“Assembly” means the National Assembly referred to in the Constitution.


“Bill” means any draft legislation presented to the Assembly.


“Chairperson” means the person elected as Chairperson of any Committee set up in terms of these Rules, and shall, where applicable, include the Speaker.


“Clerk” of the Assembly means the Clerk of the Assembly and includes a Deputy Clerk.


“Closed meeting” means a meeting only open to Members of the Committee and the Committee Secretariat.


“Constitution” means the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles.


“Contempt” means any action, conduct, or words uttered which are contrary to any Rule, order or law assigning any powers to the Assembly, and shall include non-compliance with any request or order which has been lawfully issued by the Assembly, or any of its Committees.


“Designate” means a Member elected as Chairperson in the absence of the Chairperson.


“Division” means the procedure followed when the Committee is divided and a vote is called.


“Meeting” means the period from the time when the Chairperson calls the meeting to order until the time it is closed.


“Motion” means a request for business to be brought for consideration before the Assembly or a Committee.

“Party” means a registered political organisation, which has representation in the Assembly pursuant to the provisions of Article 118 of the Constitution.


“Quorum” means the minimum number of Members who must be present to conduct business.


“Rapporteur” means a Member of a Committee appointed to report back to the Assembly or a Committee regarding a specific matter.


“Recess” means the period during which the Assembly is not in session.


“Secretary of Committees” or “Committee Secretary” means any official appointed to serve as a secretary in the Committees of the Assembly, and shall include any officer assigned to assist in the same capacity.


“Select Committee” means a Committee established at any time by resolution of the Assembly, on an ad hoc basis, to inquire into and report on a specific matter.


“Sergeant-at-Arms” means the officer appointed to maintain order in the Assembly and its Committees and execute orders made by the Speaker or the Presiding Officer.


“Session” means the period of time as defined by Article 106 (1) of the Constitution.


“Sitting” means a period during which the Assembly is sitting continuously without adjournment and includes any period during which the Assembly is in Committee.


“Speaker” means the Member elected as Speaker of the National Assembly in terms of Article 83 of the Constitution.


“Standing Committee” means a permanent or continuing Committee established in terms of the Standing Orders or by resolution of the Assembly for the duration of the Assembly.


“Standing Orders” means the Standing Orders of the Assembly made in pursuance to Article 101 of the Constitution.


“Summons” means a written notification, issued by the Secretary/Clerk on the directions of the Speaker or Chairperson requiring a person to appear before a Committee at a specified time to answer questions or give evidence to the Committee. “Subpoena” shall have a corresponding meaning.


“Table” means to lay upon the table in the Assembly all motions, questions, bills or other forms of business for consideration by the Assembly.


“Witness” means a person invited or subpoenaed to testify or appear before any Committee of the Assembly.



(1)   The number of Members of a Standing or Select Committee shall be determined in accordance with Article 104 (2) of the Constitution.

(2)   Each Party shall nominate persons to serve in Standing or Select Committees, with due regard to the principle of proportional representation. The nominations shall be communicated by the Party to the Clerk.

(3)   The names of the Members appointed to serve on a Standing or Select Committee shall be announced by the Speaker of the Assembly.




A party may replace its Member on a Committee and may nominate another.



The first meeting of any Committee shall be convened by the Clerk or his/her nominee.



(1)   Unless otherwise provided by an Act of Parliament, these Rules of Procedure and Standing Orders, or a decision of the Assembly, a Committee shall elect a Chairperson from its Members.

(2)   If the Chairperson is absent from a meeting, the Committee shall elect from its Members an acting chairperson.

(3)   An Acting Chairperson performs the functions and may exercise the powers of the Chairperson for the duration of the meeting for which he or she has been elected.

(4)   In the performance of its duties, a Committee shall make an effort to promote a bi-partisan approach.




(1)   The Chairperson shall prepare, convene and preside over meetings and implement Committee decisions.

(2)   All attending the meeting shall be subject to the Chairperson’s power for the maintenance of order.

(3)   If the orderly conduct of a meeting is no longer assured, the Chairperson may adjourn it or declare it closed.



(1)   The Chairperson shall in consultation with the Speaker convene a meeting on such date, during such time, and at such place as he/she thinks fit.

(2)   If at least one third of the Members so requests, the Chairperson must convene a meeting at the first suitable date.

(3)   The Chairperson may, in consultation with the Speaker, convene a meeting outside the timetable or at a place other than the normal meeting place.



(1)   Unless the Committee decides otherwise, the Chairperson determines the agenda, which Members must receive at least two days before the meeting.

(2)   The Committee Secretary must prepare and have delivered to each Member a written notice of the day and the hour fixed for the next meeting. The notice must include the agenda, and where applicable, the minutes.



(1)   The Chairperson shall sign all minutes of Committee meetings.

(2)   The minutes must contain:

a)    the name of the Committee and the day and hour of its commencement and closure;

b)   the roll call;

c)    motions and amendments proposed;

d)   all orders and resolutions of the Committee;

e)    the names and professions or occupations of witnesses examined;

f)     such other matters as the Committee may direct.



(1)   The quorum of a Committee is 4 members.



(1)   A Member shall tender his or her apology to the Committee Secretary on the form prescribed in Annex 1 at least a day before the meeting.

(2)   A Member, who is unable to do so, shall authorise someone to apologise on his/her behalf, stating the reason for the absence.

(3)   Apologies submitted, as per Rule 11 (2), shall be confirmed in writing at the first suitable opportunity.

(4)   The Committee Secretary shall submit the apology to the Chairperson.

(5)   The Chairperson determines the validity of the apology.



(1)   A Member will only be regarded as having been in attendance at a meeting of a Committee, if he/she was present in excess of ¾ of the duration of that meeting.

(2)   A Member who does not attend meetings of a Committee for three (3) consecutive meetings or a total of five (5) meetings during a session, without a valid reason, shall cease to be a Member of that Committee.



The Chairperson shall, in addition to his or her deliberative vote, have a casting vote in the event of an equality of votes.



(1)   The business of a Committee shall consist of all items and questions that have been referred to it within its Terms of Reference.

(2)   If several items concerning the same subject have been referred to it, the Committee shall decide which item shall serve as basis for its recommendation to the Assembly. Other items relating to the same subject may be declared disposed of, even if they have not, or have only been considered in part in the Committee deliberations. If 1/3 of the Committee objects, the Committee shall vote on the items concerned. The recommendation that the items be declared disposed of or rejected shall be submitted to the Assembly.

(3)   A Committee shall be provided with all necessary staff, facilities and resources and shall be empowered to appoint persons with specialist knowledge for the purposes of the Committee, in consultation with the Speaker.





(1)   A Member must-

a)    declare any personal or private financial or business interest which that Member or any spouse, permanent companion or business partner of that Member may have in a matter before a Committee or other parliamentary forum of which that Member is a member; and

b)   withdraw from the proceedings of that Committee or forum when that matter is considered, unless that Committee or forum decides that the Member’s interest is trivial or not relevant.


The Chairperson may nominate one or more rapporteurs for each item of business, unless the Committee decides otherwise.



1)    Unless the Assembly decides otherwise, a Committee must report to the Assembly on all matters referred to it within a period of six months, provided that Standing Committees must report to the Assembly at the beginning of every meeting.

2)    A Committee may, with the approval of the Speaker, communicate with the media or issue press releases.



(1)   At the commencement of each Assembly, it shall set up Standing Committees in accordance with Article 104 of the Constitution.

(2)   A Standing Committee shall continue for the duration of the Assembly.

(3)   There are the following Standing Committees:

a)    Standing Committee on Standing Orders

b)   Standing Committee on Finance and Public Accounts


(1)  Each committee shall formulate its terms of reference which shall be approved by the Assembly and shall have as general terms of reference the duty to:

a)    secure attendance from officials of Offices, Ministries and Agencies in order to receive reports on the performance of their respective Offices, Ministries and Agencies;

b)    receive and consider policy documents and statements from the Offices, Ministries and Agencies;

c)    receive submissions from individuals and groups, regarding the operations of the various Offices, Ministries and Agencies;

d)    organise meetings between citizens, community groups, sectoral organisations, Members of the National Assembly and representatives of Offices, Ministries and Government Agencies as may be necessary to facilitate an exchange of views regarding the operations of Government Offices, Ministries and Agencies and their effects on communities and groups in the society;

e)    conduct investigative, legislative or oversight hearings; and

f)     make recommendations to Offices, Ministries and Agencies for the enhancement of their policies, functions and administrative operations.


(2)  Standing Committees may, in cases of common interest, communicate their evidence to each other and may meet jointly.



In addition to any other functions conferred upon it by the Assembly, it shall be the duty of the Standing Orders Committee to consider all proposals concerning the rules of procedure of the Assembly and to report to the Assembly thereon.




The functions of the Committee shall be:-

a.    to consider the accounts referred to in Article 158 (3) of the Constitution in conjunction with the Auditor General’s report;

b.   to report to the Assembly on any excess of authorised expenditure; and

c.    to propose any measures it considers necessary to ensure that the funds of the Government are properly and economically spent.



(1)   The Assembly may from time to time set up Select Committees.

(2)   The Assembly shall by motion determine the terms of reference of a Select Committee.

(3)   If a Select Committee is unable to complete its business before the end of a session, or within the allotted time, it shall so report to the Assembly.

(4)   A Select Committee, may from time to time, report to the Assembly concerning matters referred to it, and shall not be dissolved, save in accordance with these Rules.

(5)   A Select Committee shall dissolve upon completion of its business.



(1)   Committee reports to the Assembly shall be in writing and may be supplemented orally.

(2)   The Chairperson shall, at the conclusion of the Committee’s deliberations, prepare or cause to be prepared a draft report for consideration by the Committee.

(3)   A Committee may, for purposes of getting additional evidence, suspend consideration of a draft report.

(4)   A Committee may, during consideration of a draft report, by motion, amend or rescind any part of the draft or a resolution made in connection therewith.

(5)   The Chairperson shall, at the conclusion of the consideration of the draft report, put the question “that the report (or report as amended) be the report of the Committee to the Assembly.”

(6)   The report shall contain the following:

a)    names of Members;

b)   in case of a Bill, the Bill number, title and date the Bill was referred to the Committee;

c)    number of meetings held and days spent;

d)   issues discussed;

e)    summary of hearings, if conducted;

f)     observations;

g)    minority opinions;

h)   recommendations and motivations thereof;

i)     signatures of all Members;

j)     in the event of a division, the question put, the name of the proposer and how the Members voted.

(7)   When a Committee for any reason has been unable to conclude the consideration of its draft report it may-

a)    resolve “That so much of the report that has been agreed to by the Committee shall be the report of the Committee, and shall forthwith be reported to the Assembly”, or

b)   request to the Assembly for an extension of time to complete its report.

(8)   A report of a Committee laid upon the table shall be considered by the Assembly;

(9)   A motion may be moved that the report be considered in Committee of the Whole Assembly or that a report or part thereof be referred back to the Committee.



Summonses to attend a Committee meeting shall be issued under the hand of the Secretary or the Clerk under the direction of the Speaker or the Chairperson of the Committee.



(1)   Committee meetings shall not be open to the public, unless a Committee decides otherwise.

(2)   A Committee may, by a motion supported by a majority of its Members, decide to allow the public, including the press and non-Committee Members, to attend proceedings for specified periods or in respect of specific matters.



(1)   In order to decide on the feasibility of conducting a public hearing, a Committee shall first determine what information is required, what issues need to be addressed and whether a public hearing is the most effective way to secure the required information.

(2)   The Committee shall also consider the scope and purpose of the hearing, possible witnesses, the number of hearing days planned, the expected outcome and the financial resources required to conduct such a hearing.

(3)   Where an item of business has been referred to a Committee, the Committee shall hold such hearings if one third of its Members so request.

(4)   All cost implications arising from proposed public hearings shall require prior approval from the Speaker, in consultation with the Clerk.

(5)   For the purpose of obtaining information on a subject under debate, a Committee may hold public hearings of experts, representatives of interest groups and other persons who can furnish information relevant to the hearing.

(6)   In preparation for a public hearing, the Committee may advise the persons furnishing information of the questions that they will be asked.

(7)   A Committee may conduct more than one hearing.

(8)   Committees may request information on the subject of enquiry directly from specific Government Offices, Ministries and Agencies.

(9)   The Committee may send a witness additional information. This information may include a list of Committee Members, the Committee’s Rules, the issues under consideration, and articles relating to the issues. A staff contact person shall be indicated. Staff may meet with witnesses before a hearing to answer administrative questions and to review the procedure.

Notice Requirements

(10)A notice of the place, time, subject matter of the hearing, together with the number and title of each Bill (in the case of a Bill), name and contact number of the Committee Clerk, shall be displayed at conspicuous places in the Assembly Building and advertised in at least 2 newspapers in Seychelles at least five calendar days prior to the hearing. Such information shall also be forwarded to the electronic media.


Conduct of Hearings

(11)The convening and procedures are as follows:

a)    the Chairperson or his/her designate shall open the hearing with a brief statement of its purpose and background. He/she shall also outline the procedures to be followed. The Chairperson or Deputy Chairperson may require a witness to make an oath or affirmation.

b)   the Chairperson or his/her designate shall ask the witness to identify him or herself and state the capacity in which he or she appears before the Committee.

c)    only Members of a Committee may question a witness.


Written Submissions

(12)A person may send to the Committee written submissions on a Bill or inquiry. The submissions must be forwarded to the Committee Secretary before 1400hrs when possible, on the day prior to the public hearing. A person who has sent a written submission may attend the hearing to give an oral summary of the written submission. The written submission shall form part of the record of the hearing.

Examination of Evidence and Report of the Committee

(13)The Committee shall, after examining and scrutinising written and oral evidence, prepare a report in terms of Rule 23.


Requirements for Submissions

(14)The requirements for a submission shall be as follows:

a)    the name and address of the author; and

b)   the name of the Committee and the full title of the Bill (in the case of the Bill) or inquiry.



(1)  The Committee shall at all times adhere to the PROCEDURE FOR TAKING EVIDENCE IN COMMITTEES, as per Annex 5.

(2)  Before examining a witness, the Chairperson shall ensure that the witness has been informed of the PRIVILEGES OF WITNESSES as per Section 14, Part III of the National Assembly Privileges, Immunities and Powers Act.

(3)  The Chairperson may examine the witness and at the conclusion of the examination ascertain from each Member of the Committee whether he or she desires to examine the witness.

(4)  If during the examination of a witness there arises any matter on which the Committee may wish to deliberate before continuing the examination, the witness shall withdraw until the Committee is ready to resume the examination.

(5)  During the examination of a witness, no Member shall debate the issue or express his or her own opinion or that of the committee, on the matter under discussion.

(6)  A Member may object to a question put to a witness by another Member any time before the question is actually answered on the grounds that it is improper or inadmissible and, if the Member is unwilling to concede, the Chairperson shall excuse the witness in order that the matter may be decided by the Committee.

(7)  A Committee may at its discretion refuse to hear any irrelevant evidence or any recalcitrant witness.

(8)  A person appearing before a Committee shall observe such directions and conform to these Rules as the Chairperson may require.

(9)  A Committee may not examine a witness on a matter that is sub judice (pending in a court of law).



(1)  All documents, reports and papers of a Committee shall be confidential and shall be dealt with in terms of these Rules.

(2)  The proceedings of and the evidence taken during a public hearing may be published, unless the Committee decides otherwise.

(3)  Evidence which was taken in camera or which a Committee has resolved not to publish or divulge shall not be published or divulged except by order of the Committee.

(4)  The Committee Secretary shall not, without the approval of the Committee, withdraw or alter or cause to be withdrawn or altered any Committee documents received by him or her.

(5)  The Committee Secretary shall not be held accountable for confidential documents or other information disclosed by a Member of a Committee to a non-Committee Member or any other person.

(6)  During public hearing the written submissions of witnesses may, on request, and subject to the approval of the Committee, be made available to representatives, Members of the public and the media present at the hearing.

(7)  A copy of the Bill or any material related to the public hearing shall be distributed to the public at least two weeks before the public hearing.

(8)  A report not adopted and signed by the Committee shall be regarded as a draft and shall be distributed to Committee Members unless the Committee decides otherwise.



Any person, other than a person who is in full-time employment of the Public Service or a local or regional authority or a body or institution established by or under any law, who has been subpoenaed under Section 10 of the National Assembly Privileges, Immunities and Powers Act to give evidence before a Committee, shall be paid if he or she does not reside within the vicinity of the place of attendance stated in the summons, such expenses and fees as determined by the Speaker from time to time.



(1)  A written motion by an absent Member of a Committee may only be put to the vote if it is taken over by a Member of the Committee entitled to vote and who is present at the meeting.

(2)  A motion or an amendment moved by a Member in a Committee shall not require to be seconded.



The Committee may unanimously authorise the Chairperson in urgent cases when the Assembly is not sitting to cause a vote to be taken in writing on specific matters.



The Committee Secretary, in executing his or her duties and functions, shall remain non-partisan at all times.



(1)  A Committee in session shall not travel beyond the precincts of the National Assembly without the approval of the Speaker.

(2)  When seeking the approval of the Speaker to travel beyond the precincts of the National Assembly, the Chairperson of the Committee shall state the reasons for and the nature of the proposed trip.



(1)  A Member may not, without the permission of the Chairperson, bring into the Committee room, any equipment, cell-phone or material, other than necessary documents and objects required by Members in the execution of their Parliamentary duties.

(2)  No Member shall smoke inside the Committee room.

(3)  No Member shall converse aloud or read newspapers or any other document not connected with the business of the Committee during Committee sessions.

(4)  No Member shall use names of individuals or organisations when citing examples unless it is absolutely necessary to clarify a point.

(5)  No Member shall use unparliamentary language during the deliberations of a Committee.



Any decision of a Committee that may have cost implications for the functioning of the Committee shall be subject to approval by the Speaker, in consultation with the Secretary/Clerk.



Members of the Committee shall be paid a sitting allowance as the Speaker may, from time to time, decide.


[1] Refer to Annex for TORs of Select Committees




Annex 1: Form for Tendering of Apology for Absence from a Committee Meeting


Logo of the National Assembly

The National Assembly of Seychelles

The Secretariat


Tendering of Apology for Absence from a Meeting


Reason for absence:

Member Signature:


Committee Secretary:


The Chairman:


Annex 2: TOR of the International Affairs Committee

Tasks and Responsibilities

(i)        To work closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, other governmental and non-governmental organizations on international affairs, peace, security and defense and contribute thereon as and when necessary.

(ii)        To maintain existing and establish new ties with foreign parliamentary organizations of interest.

(iii)        To perform any other tasks as may be assigned by the National Assembly.











Annex 3: TOR of the Government Assurances Committee

Role and Purpose

The role and purpose of the Committee on Government Assurance is to:


  1. scrutinise the assurances, promises and undertakings given by Ministers and other agents of Government in Parliament from time to time and report on the extent to which those assurances, promises and undertakings, have been implemented.
  2. comment on delays in implementation and the adequacy of the actions taken.
  3. exercise such functions that are not covered by paragraphs (1) and (2) as may be allocated to the Committee by the Speaker from time to time, and
  4. Report on-
    1. the extent to which such assurances, promises, undertakings and any other matters related to the foregoing have been implemented, and
    2. where implemented, whether such implementations have taken place within the minimum time necessary for the purpose.

Annex 4: TOR of the Economic Reforms Oversight Committee

The Committee shall work to:

  1. ensure that the reform process evolves in peace, stability and transparency
  2. ensure that the population which we represent does not endure undue and unfair hardship
  3. become a medium for public education and empowerment and,
  4. act as the focal point of the National Assembly for the economic reform program.


The Economic Reforms Oversight Committee is empowered:


1)    to examine, enquire into and make recommendations with respect to the economic reform program reports prepared by the government and its associated ministries, departments and other stakeholders.

2)    To oversee the proper implementation of the economic reform program.

3)    To monitor the compliance of the government agencies and other stakeholders with the recommendation of the economic reform plan.

4)    To maintain close relations with and participate in the meetings of the relevant government bodies.

5)    To report to the National Assembly at the beginning of each session or as far as it is practicable on the general progress of the words of the Committee.















ANNEX 5: Procedure for taking Evidence in Committees

1)    For the purpose of effectively performing its functions a Standing or Select Committee may summon any person to give evidence under oath, affirmation or otherwise, to produce documents and to issue a commission or request to examine a witness abroad.


2)    The evidence of every witness before a Committee shall be taken down and sent in proof to the witness. The witness shall be at liberty to suggest corrections due to inaccurate reporting and the evidence shall be printed with such corrections as may be approved by the Chairman.


3)    A witness shall answer every question asked or shall submit written answers to the questions asked. A witness may, however, be allowed to defer his or her answers and submit the same on an appointed day.


4)    The committee may, before a witness is called for examination, decide the mode of procedure and the nature of the question to be put.


5)    Questions asked of a witness must relate to

a.    the terms or order under which the Committee has been established or,

b.    any matter directly connected therewith.


6)    A witness shall be required to speak to any statement provided to the Committee and to supply factual and background material to assist in the understanding of the issues involved, but the witness, other than an expert shall not be asked any question seeking his or her personal views on any matter.


7)    A witness shall not be asked questions which seek to elicit evidence with a view to identify a ministerial or government decision which has yet to be announced. If such answers are volunteered, they may be subject to objections by other Members of the Committee.


8)    Questions shall not require officials called as witnesses to advocate or defend government policies.


9)    Questions asked of a witness must be related to matters for which the witness is responsible or for which he or she has been delegated to respond.


10) (a) Witnesses may for good cause, refuse to answer questions relating to:-


(i)        cabinet documents or proceedings


(ii)        communications between Officials and Ministers


(iii)        communications between Ministers


(iv)        matters, the publication of which may be injurious to national interest or security.


(v)        opinions of judicial officers


(vi)        legal advice to Ministers and departments.


(vii)        communications between Officials and third parties relating to formulation of policies and


(viii)        matters which by statute are required to be kept secret.


(b)           If, on objection taken, a question is decided to be improper and inadmissible, it shall be expunged from the minutes of proceedings.


(c)           There shall be prefixed the name of the enquiring Member at the beginning of each question or series of questions asked of a witness under examination.


(d)           Objections taken shall be considered by the Committee in the absence of the witness and in case no unanimity is obtained, they shall be referred to the Speaker whose ruling shall be final.


11) All questions and answers before a Committee shall be recorded verbatim as much as possible.


12) The record shall be submitted to corrections, if any, and returnable to the Clerk within 7 days, failing which the reporter’s copy shall be treated as authoritative. The corrections are to be confined to clerical mistakes and cannot improve or alter the substance or form of any question or answers by additions or deletions.