NEW DELHI: Congress leader in Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary wrote to Speaker Om Birla on Thursday urging him to publish Rahul Gandhi’s speech in the House in totality in the wider interest of the nation.
He said a major part of Gandhi’s speech on Tuesday during a discussion on the motion of thanks on the President’s address was removed, making it “unintelligible”.
LIVE: Shri @RahulGandhi's reply to the Hon’ble President’s address in Lok Sabha. https://t.co/TKomLoHbQ9
— Congress (@INCIndia) February 7, 2023
He said Gandhi, in his speech, mentioned certain facts about matters pertaining to the Hindenburg report on the Adani Group.
The former Congress president also posed some questions to the prime minister on the issue, but in the incorrected debates published by the secretary general, a major portion of Gandhi’s speech was removed in such a way that it “becomes unintelligible”, Chowdhury said.
“The Constitution guarantees that there shall be freedom of speech in Parliament,” he noted in his letter to the Speaker.
The freedom of speech that is available to the Members of Parliament under Article 105(1) is wider in amplitude than the right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, he noted.
“Having conferred the freedom of speech to parliamentarians, the Constitution emphasizes the fact that the said freedom is absolute and unfettered. This unfettered power granted to the elected representatives, to my understanding, is due to the fact that members while speaking in the items serves the interest of the people of this country,” Chowdhury said.
He said Article 105 of the Constitution confers immunity inter-alia in respect of “anything said in Parliament” the word “anything” is of the widest import and is equivalent to “everything”.
“The only limitation is that the words ‘in Parliament’ which means during the sitting of the Parliament and in the course of the business of Parliament. This view has been supported by various judgements of the Supreme Court from time to time.
“In view of the above and in the wider interest of the nation the speech made by Rahul Gandhi should be published in totality as it serves a great public purpose,” the chairperson of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee said.
“In view of the above I, request you to kindly revisit your decision to edit the speech of Rahul Gandhi,” Chowdhury urged the Speaker.
Several portions of Gandhi’s speech were expunged by the Speaker later in the night on February 7.
Source: Press Trust of India