Just three days are left for Parliament’s winter session to end this Friday. But on Wednesday, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi cooked up quite a storm when he sensationally alleged that PM Modi is personally benefiting from demonetisation.
Minutes after the Lok Sabha was adjourned on Wednesday – the entire winter session has been a washout – Gandhi briefed the media, saying he has some personal information about Modi that he wants to brief the parliament about. And that he is not being allowed to speak.
Rahul said this not once, but at least thrice in the same day. And it came days after his memorable statement that his speech in Lok Sabha will cause an “earthquake”.
But with the Lok Sabha perennially adjourned this session, a natural question is: Why is Rahul insisting on speaking in the Lok Sabha and not directly to the media?
It’s something even Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal wondered, and took to Twitter along with some supporters to question the Congress Vice President:
If Rahul Gandhi actually has papers on Modi ji’s personal involvement in corruption, then why doesn’t he expose it outside Parl? https://t.co/5xc2WkCd5B— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) December 14, 2016
If Rahul Gandhi is not allowed to speak inside the house, than he should speak outside and disclose the information he has about Modi ji. https://t.co/WqpbfIVG5S— Ashish Khetan (@AashishKhetan) December 14, 2016
And really, if the information is in public interest and could seriously harm Modi and the BJP and can expose any wrongdoings, why shouldn’t he just reveal the scandal to the media?
The answer could be this: Parliamentary privileges.
Members of either House of the Indian Parliament enjoy certain powers, privileges and immunities that protects them against court suits.
Article 105 of the Constitution accords them near absolute freedom of speech in Parliament.
“No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceeding in any court in respect of anything said or any vote given by him in Parliament or any committee thereof, and no person shall be so liable in respect of the publication by or under the authority of either House of Parliament of any report, paper, votes or proceedings,” the Article states.
So all that Rahul may be doing is saving himself from a possible defamation case by revealing this ‘scandal’ in Parliament rather than outside it. One can’t blame him given he’s spent many parts of this year travelling to courts across the country thanks to cases against him for alleging the RSS was behind the murder of Mahatma Gandhi.
If the ‘scandal’ is defamatory and risks him getting sued, he may be insulating himself from them by announcing it only in Parliament. But the bigger question is: if he can’t reveal it in Parliament, will he sacrifice national interest to protect himself from defamation cases?