As many as 50 Bharatiya Janata Party members in the Lok Sabha — including BJP deputy leader Gopinath Munde and senior leader Yashwant Sinha — have given a notice of “breach of privilege” against Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for making a statement to the media outside Parliament rejecting the Opposition's demand for a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) probe into the IPL issue and the telephone tapping controversy.
The notice was submitted by the members to Lok Sabha Secretary-General P.D.T. Achary on Tuesday.
Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj raised the issue in the Lok Sabha, alleging that Dr. Singh had disrespected the House by making such a statement outside the House when the Opposition sought the government's reply in the House. Dr. Singh, reacting to the Opposition's demand for a JPC on the phone tapping issue, told journalists on Monday: “This is not a fit case for a JPC.” On the IPL issue, he said he did not think there was a need for a JPC probe. “JPC is a very serious issue. We can't rush to such a conclusion in haste.”
Sources said Speaker Meira Kumar can examine the notice and reject it at the outset if she feels there is no privilege involved.
If, however, Ms. Kumar feels that there is indeed a breach of privilege, then the matter can be placed before the Lok Sabha for sending it to the Rajya Sabha Chairman (since the Prime Minister is a member of the Rajya Sabha) or she can do it straightaway.
The BJP members said the decision of the Rajya Sabha Chairman would be final, and if the latter felt that there was no privilege involved, then the matter could be dropped.