Members of the Opposition BJP and AIADMK in the Rajya Sabha on Friday lodged a strong protest over the manner in which two vacancies in the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G spectrum scam were filled, saying the Government was setting a bad precedent.

Raising the issue soon after Rajya Sabha mourned the death of its former member Dharma Chander Prashant, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said JPC members have, as per precedent, been elected on relative strength of political parties.

“That has been given a go-by,” he said referring to the passing of a resolution amid din for the appointment of P Bhattacharya (Cong) and Ashok S Ganguly (Nom) to the JPC.

He asked Chairman Hamid Ansari to give a ruling if such an election was correct.

“This is not the way Parliamentary Committees or their vacancies are filled,” Mr. Jaitley said.

Satyavrat Chaturvedi (Cong) said he agreed with Mr. Jaitley’s contention that parties must get proportionate representation on parliamentary committees.

The vacancies in JPC were caused by the retirement of Tiruchi Siva (DMK) and resignation of EMS Natchiappan (Cong) on becoming a Minister.

Both the seats were with the UPA and have thus been filled, Mr. Chaturvedi said, adding that it would have been a wrong precedent if the ruling party had wrested the seats held by the Opposition.

In the present case, the two seats were with UPA and so the new members have been nominated by them through a House resolution, he added.

Opposition members rejected Mr. Chaturvedi’s contention, with V. Maitreyan (AIAMDK) saying that one of the members who resigned from the JPC had given a dissent note in the report.

Mr. Ansari said he had received a letter from Mr. Jaitley on the issue on Thursday evening and said “I shall be replying to it.”

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