The Public Accounts Committee's voluminous report on 2G spectrum allocation that has become a political hot potato landed on the desk of Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Saturday afternoon; soon after this, PAC Chairman M.M. Joshi said he expected her to table it in Parliament.
“It [the report] has been received by the Speaker. I did not meet her, nor did I seek an appointment, but I expect her to table it in Parliament,” Dr. Joshi said an hour after he sent the report to her office. He said that in a covering note he had described the sordid events at the April 28 meeting of the PAC.
Ms. Kumar, who was away in Arunachal Pradesh, just returned to the capital when the 2G report arrived at her office. The complaints by 11 PAC members that the report had factual errors and had been “rejected” by them also awaited her.
Senior Congress MP on the PAC K.S. Rao met her with a written submission on the happenings at the PAC meetings and orally apprised her of what transpired on April 28 and earlier. He is believed to have pointed out that on April 15, when some members said certain matters ought not to be discussed as they were sub judice, the Chairman took a vote and said that point of view had been defeated by a majority of one. In fact, that day no member demanded a vote. But, on April 28, when 11 members asked that a vote be taken, he refused.
On the other hand, Dr. Joshi strongly contested the constitutional validity of the action of some members who “usurped” his chair — after he declared the meeting adjourned — and voted to reject the report. He said the rules provided for the report to be read paragraph by paragraph and adopted after incorporating any suggestion or amendment. There is no provision for “rejection” of the report.
Asked how he allowed a vote on the PAC to determine some other issues, Dr. Joshi said he had tried to get the “sense of the House,” but clearly on the matter of getting the report approved, the “sense of the House” was neither necessary nor was it provided for in the rules.
“We could have straightened out any shortcomings and amendments could have been considered, but they [Congress and DMK members] made the allegation that the report was not the report of the Lok Sabha Secretariat at all, as it had been outsourced.” He said that as Chairman it was his duty to get the allegation examined, which he did.