New Delhi, Oct 22: BJP leader Yashwant Sinha Monday hoped that the Joint Parliamentary Committee chief will agree to call Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram before the panel as witnesses, and said a parliamentary panel “cannot encourage corruption on the basis of majority”.
In a letter to P.C. Chacko, who heads the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) looking into the 2G spectrum allocation, Sinha noted that committees have functioned on the basis of consensus rather than on the basis of majority.
Replying to Chacko’s letter responding to his earlier message, Sinha said his suggestions to call the prime minister and the finance minister to depose before the panel had not been put to vote.
“Therefore, to allude that the members of the committee are against my suggestions is not based on facts,” he said.
“I shall continue to believe that good sense shall prevail and you will agree to our request. Parliament of India, and specially a parliamentary committee, cannot encourage corruption on the basis of majority,” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said.
Sinha said Chacko had quoted Rule 261 of the Rules of Procedure of Conduct of Business of the Lok Sabha, according to which all questions on any sitting of a committee shall be determined by a majority of vote of the members of committee.
He said Chacko had also said at several places that the calling of witnesses is dependent on a majority of votes of the members of the committee.
“Despite the existence of Rule 261, committees have functioned on the basis of consensus rather than on the basis of votes. This rule also does not apply to all the committees,” Sinha contended.
Noting that Chacko had not so far prepared a final list of witnesses, he said his suggestion as that of others were “at best suggestions at present”.
“As far as a member of the committee appearing before the committee to give evidence is concerned, the speaker has already settled the issue and it is completely out of order, therefore, for you to reopen it again. I have also repeatedly informed to you in the 1992 JPC, I had rendered written evidence despite the fact that I was a member of the committee,” Sinha said.
“Your reference to the speaker has already been turned down in the note of the secretary general of Oct 12, 2012, as premature as the committee has not taken a view in the matter. This is a reflection on the entire committee,” Sinha said.
The BJP members had stayed away from the last meeting of the JPC over their demand to call the prime minister and the finance minister as witnesses. Sinha did not refer specifically to the party’s demand to call the prime minister and finance minister in his letter.