As there are only five days to go for the end of the monsoon session of the parliament (extended till September 6), CPI MP in Lok Sabha and member of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on 2G Spectrum allocation, Gurudas Das Gupta, has raised doubts whether the Committee could finalise its report and table it in the parliament before the completion of the present sittings.
Referring to the controversy over the election of two Rajya Sabha members Congress member P. Bhattarcharya and nominated member Ashok S. Ganguly to the 30-member Committee against two vacancies caused in the RS quota of membership, Mr. Gupta told The Hindu on Sunday that it seemed the appointment was made deliberately by the government and the JPC Chairman P.C. Chacko (Congress MP from Thrissur in Kerala).
Pointing out that no meeting of JPC was held during the intermittent period between the budget session and the ongoing monsoon session of the parliament, Mr. Gupta alleged that the government wanted to kill the JPC to prove in future that there would be no rationale in having such a Committee. He said he had already written a letter to the Lok Sabha Speaker seeking replacement of Mr. Chacko as he had no confidence on him.
Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha and BJP senior leader Arun Jaitley, who had written a letter to RS Chairman Hamid Ansari vis-a-vis appointment of two new members, told this correspondent that he was waiting for the response from Mr. Ansari before he took next step.
Mr. Jaitley, who alleged that the government was setting a bad precedent when a motion on the appointment of two new JPC members was taken up in the Upper House recently, had said, in his letter to Mr. Ansari, the move to appoint a nominated member in JPC, to ensure that the government got majority, was aimed at ‘rigging’ the panel's report.
All Parliamentary committees -- known as miniature parliaments -- had proportional representation from political parties. But this rule had been flouted by the government which got a motion passed by a voice vote to put a nominated member (Ashok S. Ganguly) in the Committee.
He had earlier told RS that: It is a precedent which is going to have very dangerous consequences, where if there are two vacancies, Government takes both, because irrespective of who the member is, both Members are of your choice. The Opposition's views are not taken into consideration.
He went on to state then: Is it the Government's stand and, therefore, the stand of the ruling party, that in future when Parliamentary Committees are constituted, it would be done by a principle of 'winner takes all', and there would be no Opposition representative?
The JPC was constituted on March 4, 2012, with 20 members from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha, after the opposition parties demanded for such a Committee and even stalled the entire winter session of parliament in 2011 that lasted for 23 days.
The Committee is examining the telecom policies of the NDA and UPA governments and allocation of spectrum between 1998 and 2008.