JPC chairman refers to Lok Sabha Speaker demand to summon Chidambaram
MDT/PTI 11 October 2012

While BJP has been demanding calling Prime Minister Singh and Chidambaram before JPC, Left party members in the panel also made a strong pitch to call the Finance Minister

New Delhi: PC Chacko, chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Thursday decided to refer to the Lok Sabha Speaker the demand to summon Finance Minister P Chidambaram as a witness before the panel on 2G but virtually ruled out calling the Prime Minister even as BJP continued its boycott, reports PTI.


"According to past precedents and rules, members of a committee pass a unanimous resolution to call a minister. The request is then sent to the Speaker for a final ruling as rules do not permit calling a minister before a committee for either giving evidence or consultations.


But in this case, since there is no unanimity on calling the Finance Minister, I have decided to refer the matter to the Speaker which is allowed under rules...I will refer the matter of calling of a minister. There is no precedence to call the Prime Minister," Chacko said after today's meeting.


The decision was taken even as the six BJP members in the JPC, who had been boycotting the meetings accusing Chacko of not taking a decision on their demand to call Singh and Chidambaram, today stayed away from the proceedings.


While BJP has been demanding calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram before JPC, Left members in the panel - Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPM) - today made a strong pitch to call the Finance Minister.


In a strongly worded letter to Chacko today on behalf of his party colleagues, Yashwant Sinha of BJP said, "...we have strongly demanded that in order to arrive at the right conclusions, the Committee must record the evidence of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister. Their appearance before the Committee, in view of their role in the decision making process is absolutely necessary."


Responding to the letter, Chacko said except for BJP, no one else has demanded calling the prime minister as witness.


"Even the CPI and CPM said they do not want to call the PM, but only the Finance Minister...BJP knows it is not in the rules to call is a political decision," he said.

1 decade ago
These days, PM and his colleagues do not get much opportunity to clarify things in parliament. You can blame opposition for the predicament. Joint Parliamentary Committees have been keeping better decorum. Therefore, not depending on precedents or ‘rules’, JPC Chairman P C Chacko should persuade at least FM to give JPC an opportunity to seek clarifications Chidambaram may be able to give. This should be considered as an opportunity to put records straight.
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