For many days now Rahul Gandhi has been complaining that he isn’t being allowed to speak in the Parliament by the BJP. He even went into a Rahul-ism claiming that if he speaks in the Parliament there would be an earthquake. No body quite knew why Rahul Gandhi was so insistent on speaking in the Parliament, as after all some years ago Rahul wasn’t even interested in attending parliament, let alone taking part in debates.
But now it seems the cat is out of the bag. Today Rahul Gandhi claimed that he was privy to some personal information regarding corruption by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that he wanted to reveal this in the Parliament but the BJP was not allowing this. Plus he went to the extent of claiming that PM Modi was terrified over the fact that Rahul had that information.
The natural reaction of most people was to wonder why did he have to insist on speaking inside the parliament to reveal such a explosive piece of information. Assuming Rahul Gandhi has some real concrete actionable information, it would serve his party and the entire opposition a lot if he took one of trademark roll-up-sleeves press conferences where he exposes the entire deal of corruption.
The answer to this lies in our assumption that Rahul Gandhi actually has some credible information in the first place. The fact is, according to the Article 105(2) of the constitution, anybody speaking in the Parliament gets complete immunity from any legal consequences. It states that:
“No member of Parliament shall be liable to any proceedings 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.”
As stated, the law grants a sweeping immunity from any sort of prosecution for speaking absolutely anything in the Parliament, however libelous it may be (the Speaker at best can order to expunge the remarks). So Rahul Gandhi can lie inside the parliament, and then people can repeat the same outside the parliament by merely “reporting” what Rahul said.
And it is very possible that Rahul Gandhi is hoping to take support of this very clause to save himself. After all Rahul Gandhi is still on trial for his claim that RSS killed Mahatma Gandhi, which he had made at an election rally. And has been subject to another defamation case for his Khoon Ki Dalali comment.
Even Arvind Kejriwal seems to be taunting Rahul after his latest expose by asking the question everyone has on their minds.
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
Maybe Kejriwal himself is aware of this Modus Operandi as when on the floor of the Delhi Assembly he brought out documents alleging corruption by Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat CM, but conspicuously refrained from overtly claiming the same in either a press conference. In Kejriwal’s case, he probably was using the Article 194(2) of the constitution that grants the same immunity to state assemblies.
Furthermore, the corruption claims made by Kejriwal against Prime Minister Modi has been discredited by the Supreme Court last month. The apex court said that the “proof” about such alleged bribe to Modi was “sub par”. The Judges further said that if such proofs were considered credible, anyone in the world can be accused of any wrongdoing.
Since the proof is not legally tenable, the best a politician can do is to make this claim inside a legislative house and shield himself legally, and hope that his supporters and media will make the lie travel wide and far. And this is what Rahul Gandhi is trying to do.
The most infamous example of misuse of this immunity is the JMM bribery case. In that case, the Supreme Court had granted immunity from prosecution to the JMM MPs who had taken a bribe for voting to save the Congress government back in 1993. The court in its judgement had held that those who took bribe but did not vote were liable to be prosecuted under Prevention of Corruption Act as they would not be entitled to immunity from prosecution granted to MPs.