The government and the Opposition arrived at an understanding on Monday, hours after both Houses adjourned for the day amid pandemonium over the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG), to facilitate the smooth functioning of Parliament.
Under the pact, the government has agreed to a short duration discussion, under a rule which does not entail voting, in both Houses on issues arising out of the statement made by Sports Minister Ajay Maken in Parliament.
The Opposition has charged Mr. Maken with misleading Parliament with his assertion that it was during the regime of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by A.B. Vajpayee that the CWG Organising Committee chairman and the main accused in the CWG scam Suresh Kalmadi was appointed. The Opposition, particularly the NDA, disputes Mr. Maken's contention.
After the government pointed out that there was neither rule nor precedent for Parliament discussing the CAG report, the Opposition agreed to the proposal for a discussion on the issues arising out of Mr. Maken's statement.
As per the standard procedure, once CAG presents its report to Parliament, it is automatically referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which may decide to examine it further and submit its own report. It happened in the case of the 2G spectrum licences.
Earlier in the day, the BJP gave separate privilege notices against Mr. Maken for consideration by the Lok Sabha Speaker and the Rajya Sabha Chairman on the ground that the Minister had misled Parliament.
A senior government functionary conceded that while there was no rule under which the CAG report could be discussed, there was no bar on a member referring to the report in the course of a discussion. A BJP leader said that the party would directly attack the Prime Minister's Office on the basis of the references in the report.
The understanding to ensure smooth functioning of Parliament followed parleys between the functionaries of the government and representatives of the Opposition. Both sides were of the view that repeated adjournment served no one's purpose.