Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha has questioned the stand of 2G Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) chairman P.C. Chacko that decisions of the panel should be decided by the principle of ‘majority.’
Mr. Sinha, who is a member of the JPC, and four party colleagues have been at loggerheads with Mr. Chacko, on the issue of calling the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram as witnesses before the panel. The committee’s BJP members, who determined on September 18 that it would be futile to continue on the panel on the plea that it is not going anywhere, have been staying away from the proceedings of the JPC.
In a letter, Mr. Sinha said that according to Mr. Chacko under Rule 261 of the Rules of Procedure of Conduct of Business of the Lok Sabha, all questions at any sitting of a committee shall be determined by a majority vote.
“Despite the existence of Rule 261, committees have functioned on the basis of consensus rather than on the basis of votes. This rule also does not all the committees. For instance, as far as the PAC is concerned, it is clearly stated that decisions of the committees are unanimous and that there are no minutes of dissent to the report [page 28 of the Introductory Guide to the PAC]”, Mr. Sinha wrote.
He maintained that Mr. Chacko had not put any of his suggestions to vote and, therefore, it was not justified for him to allege that the panel members were opposed to his suggestions.
Following the announcement by the BJP members that they have lost faith in the committee chairman as he was acting in a “partisan manner,” Mr. Chacko wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, asking her to decide on the demand of some members for calling the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister as witnesses.
Ms. Kumar wrote back to Mr. Chacko saying that since the committee had not taken any decision on the issue, she was referring the matter back to the chairman. The BJP members have said they would come out with a report of their own on the basis of the material at their disposal.
In the last few weeks, serious differences have cropped up between the members affiliated to the UPA and the rest of the Opposition on the list of witnesses to be called for examination.