BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has written to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, giving notice to raise a question of privilege against Congress MP Veerappa Moily, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on finance, for “lowering the dignity and ethics of the Finance Committee”.
Dubey, who is also a member of the committee, is peeved over Moily’s tweets about the deliberations of the committee, which is currently examining the November 8, 2016 demonetisation decision.
On November 21, Moily had tweeted: “Parliamentary standing committee on finance, headed by me, was briefed by the Ministry of Agri on the impact of demonetization on agri. This is the 1st official acknowledgment by the govt abt the burden our farmers had to bear cos of the ill-conceived idea of note ban.”
Just a day before Moily’s tweet, Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh had posted on Twitter, “Certain media channels and newspapers have been running a story that the agriculture ministry has accepted that farmers have been adversely affected by demonetisation and were unable to purchase seeds due to unavailability of cash. This is far from truth.” The data Singh had quoted showed that demonetisation had no effect on sowing of crops or buying of seeds.
While deliberations of Parliamentary committees are secret as per rules of Parliament proceedings, there is a convention that it is the chairman’s prerogative to give out any information s/he may deem fit. It is not an unusual practice for chairpersons of Parliamentary committees to give statements or tweet about proceedings.
That is why if Dubey’s notice under Rule 223 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha is accepted, and Moily’s deemed as a breach of Parliamentary privilege, it could set new benchmarks for Parliamentary propriety in connection with standing committees.
In his letter, Dubey wrote: “The demonetisation done on 8th November 2016 which was primarily aimed at eliminating black money, destroying fake currency, nar(c)o-terrorism etc and it is an undisputed fact that the economy has tremendously gained by this bold step of honourable prime minister of India Shri Narendra Modiji, which no other prime minister of India had ever dared to do this. However Dr M (V)eerappa Moily in the capacity of chairperson of committee on finance became so restive and politically coloured that he was searching all options to not only defame our honourable prime minister and also the government of India.”