A study is made of the unsteady flows in an electrically conducting elastico-viscous rotating liquid in the presence of a uniform magnetic field due to small amplitude torsional oscillations of an infinite, rigid non-conducting plate. This analysis is aimed at finding the general features of the steady as well as the unsteady velocity field, and the structure of the associated boondary layers on the plate. The significant interaction of rotation, hydromagnetic and elastic parameters involved in the problem is examined. The velocity field related to the small elastic parameter is calculated with physical significance. The Ekman suction velocity is calculated as the limit of w(z, t) when z →∞ t→∞ and is shown to be non-zero. It is shown that the non-zero Ekman suction velocity represents the generation of an axial inflow toward the boundary layers. Several limiting results are shown to follow as special cases of this analysis. © 1976 IOP Publishing Ltd.