PAC may have to consult Speaker before accepting PM's offer

Parliament sources said that the Prime Minister can offer but has no right of audience and the Chairman of the Committee has to take a call whether to accept the offer or not.
At the same time, the sources said that when the offer is voluntary and if the Chairman accepts it, then there is no likelihood of the Speaker standing in the way.

If the Chairman decides to accept the offer, then he may have to consult the Speaker because under Speaker's direction 99 of the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, the PAC cannot call a minister to give evidence or for consultations in connection with the examination of accounts by it.

The chairman of the committee, however, may have an informal talk with a minister on the subject under consideration by the committee.

Under Rule 283, the Speaker may, from time to time, issue such directions to the Chairman of the Committee as he may consider necessary for regulating its procedure and the organisation of its work.

"If any doubt arises on any point of procedure or otherwise, the Chairman may, if he thinks fit, refer the point to the Speaker whose decision shall be final," the rule says.
As per practices and procedures of Parliament, where a minister makes a specific request to appear before the committee, he may be permitted only after the Chairman considers it desirable after he has had a talk with the minister.

A minister is not called before the committee either to give evidence or for consultations in connection with the examination of those accounts, the rules say.

The sources said that Union Minister C Subramaniam was called before the PAC some 40 years back following which the rules were amended to seek Speaker's permission in such an eventuality.

PAC Chairman Murli Manohar Joshi has already said that it was examining every aspect of the Prime Minister's letter offering to appear before the panel in 2G spectrum issue.
"If and when the PAC feels, it will take appropriate decision at appropriate time on PM's offer," Joshi said.

At the AICC briefing, party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed said that the Prime Minister's formal offer to the PAC showed that the government has nothing to hide on the issue.

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