In a move aimed at removing issues of conflict of interest, the Parliamentary Committee on Public Undertakings (COPU) has asked its members to declare their business interests.
The committee headed by senior Congress member V Kishore Chandra Deo has recently sent a circular to its members to indicate their business interests to the Committee, which is set to discuss the functioning of key public sector undertakings.
The move comes against the backdrop of objections by some members under 255 of the Rules and Procedures of Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha said to have been raised against three members, involved in the infrastructure business.
Sources said the members have been asked to furnish the information as per Rule 52(A) directions by the Lok Sabha Speaker.
Under this Rule, if a member of a committee has a “personal, pecuniary or direct interest” in any matter which was before consideration by a committee, he shall state his interest to the Speaker through the Chairman of the Committee.
Observing that COPU was a financial committee having “little more teeth”, the sources said that the Committee would send member’s declarations to the Speaker to decide.
The sources said that more than 50 per cent of the 22-member committee has already complied with it.
If a member gave wrong information, the Speaker has power to remove that member from the committee, they said.
The key Parliamentary panel, which has been reconstituted by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, has already gone into the functioning of Air India and the National Highway Authority of India.
In fact, Mr. Deo, who had earlier headed a Committee to inquire into the Misconduct of Members of Lok Sabha, has said in his report that the provisions relating to Register of Members’ Interest and guidelines to members for resolution of conflict of interest should find a place in the code of conduct.
“There is increasing feeling among people that members misuse their position for bettering their interests. The prevailing misgivings need to be dispelled,” the report which was adopted by the previous Lok Sabha said.
The Committee then suggested that provisions may be made to the effect that if a member has a personal, pecuniary or direct interest on any subject, he should not be nominated in the first place to the Departmentally Related Standing Committee, which normally examines such subjects.