War of words between Speaker, BJP over 2G JPC report

New Delhi, Dec 10: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Tuesday refuted media reports which quoted BJP’s Yashwant Sinha as saying that she did not allow him to discuss the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on 2G spectrum before it was presented to the house by committee chairman P.C. Chacko.

“There is no rule allowing any discussion or raising of objections before presentation of the report. It is mandatory for the chairman to present duly adopted report to the house as per the terms of reference of the JPC,” said a statement from the Speaker’s office.

“It is clarified a report is not actually available before the house for a discussion unless it is presented to the house,” it said.

The speaker had rejected notices for debate by Sinha and CPI-M’s Basudeb Acharia.

“Speaker did not allow us to raise points of order. MPs have rights to raise points of order under specific rules but she overruled it. It was unprecedented. The manner in which the report was finalised was in violation of rules and norms of the house,” Sinha said Monday.

According to the statement from the Lok Sabha secretariat: “Once the report has been duly adopted, it has to be presented to the house.”

“The committee adopted the report by a 16-11 majority in a meeting held Sep 27 in which Sinha was also present,” it said.

According to the statement, Sinha, in a letter dated Dec 6, requested the Speaker to permit him to raise objections before the presentation of the report to the house in regard to violation of certain rules during deliberations in the committee.

The Lok Sabha secretariat said the decision of the Speaker cannot be challenged. “No point of order can be raised after the Speaker has given a ruling on a subject as every ruling is final in the matter,” it said.

The Lok Sabha Monday adopted the JPC report on 2G scam exonerating Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram of any wrongdoing, while blaming former telecom minister A. Raja for the faulty allocation of spectrum.

The report disagreed with the Comptroller and Auditor General’s finding the 2G scam caused a loss of Rs.1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.

It also charged the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government (1998-2004) of causing losses worth of Rs.40,000 crore because of the telecom policy it pursued while allocating spectrum.

The BJP slammed the report saying Chacko behaved like an “agent and spokesperson of the Congress”.

“Removing unparliamentary words does not mean the major portions of the dissent note will be removed. Chacko needs to learn basic parliamentary procedures,” said BJP’s deputy leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad.

“The conduct of the Congress party and the UPA government makes it clear they have failed to learn lessons from the results of the assembly elections. The strategy is to first indulge in acts of corruption and then subvert constitutional institutions in order to cover them up,” leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley said on Facebook.

IANS