Lok Sabha Secretariat draws attention to rule

The Lok Sabha Secretariat on Tuesday wondered how a discussion or objection to a committee’s report could be allowed unless the report was tabled in the House first. It was referring to the statement by Opposition leaders Yashwant Sinha (BJP), Gurudas Das Gupta (CPI) and T.R. Baalu (DMK) and others on Speaker Meira Kumar’s refusal to allow them to record their objections against the manner in which the report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the 2G spectrum issue was adopted by its Chairman P.C. Chacko. The report was tabled in the Lok Sabha on Monday and in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

“Only after a report has been presented and becomes a property of the House, it can be discussed,” the Secretariat said in a press release.

The JPC report was adopted by the Committee by a majority of 16 to 11 in a meeting held on September 27 in which Mr. Sinha was also present. Once the report had been duly adopted, it had to be presented to the House.

In a letter, Mr. Sinha asked Ms. Kumar to permit him to raise objections before the presentation of the report to the House. Ms. Kumar examined the letter in the light of the relevant Rules of the House. “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”.

Since 1952, in all the Lok Sabhas so far, thousands of reports had been presented to the House and on no report had a discussion had taken place or a point of order raised before its presentation. There was no Rule/Direction or precedent or parliamentary convention or any Constitutional obligation allowing a discussion or raising of a point of order before the presentation of a report.

“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 is the parliamentary convention that the decision from the Speaker cannot be questioned or challenged through a point of order or through a discussion,” informed sources in LS Secretariat said.

Meanwhile, DMK member A. Raja has given a notice under rule 193 to the LS Secretariat seeking a short duration discussion on the “incomplete and inconsistent report of the JPC on 2G Spectrum as against the documents and the evidences available before the committee”. He claimed that the committee had eroded the credibility of functioning of Parliament as it did not follow the established procedure and fairness.

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