JPC on spectrum can modify Par procedure to summon PM, FM: BJP

JPC on spectrum can modify Par procedure to summon PM, FM: BJP

Pressing the demand for calling the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister before the JPC on the 2G spectrum issue, BJP today said the panel is authorised to make modifications and variations to the rules of Parliamentary procedure to summon them.

Yashwant Sinha, BJP member of the JPC, has written a letter to the panel chairperson P C Chacko insisting that the body is of a "special nature" and hence a new precedent can be set. This is required as in the 2G case Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has taken certain decisions which only he can explain, the opposition party said.

Sinha states in his letter that Chacko is right in citing Directions of the Lok Sabha Speaker - which states that a minister cannot be called before a Committee to give evidence.

But he then cites the then Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee's words while announcing formation of the JPC that rules of procedure of the House would apply to it with "such variations and modifications as the Speaker may make".

"I think there can be no dispute that the nature of the scam is uncommon and the Committee is entitled to adopt an uncommon procedure, as indeed other JPCs have done in the past, with the approval of the Speaker," Sinha said.

The six BJP members of the JPC had boycotted the last sitting of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on October 11 in protest against Chacko's refusal to finalise the list of witnesses and include Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in it.

"There are decisions which the Prime Minister has taken which he and he alone can explain and which cannot be explained properly even by the senior most officials of his secretariat," Sinha said.

He added that Singh had offered to appear before Parliament's Public Accounts Committee on the same issue and should not have any objection to deposing before the JPC.