Summoning Raja before JPC 'unconstitutional': Chacko

Summoning Raja before JPC 'unconstitutional': Chacko Thrissur: JPC Chairman P C Chacko has said it will be "unconstitutional" to summon former Telecom Minister A Raja, prime accused in the 2G spectrum case, before the Joint Parliamentary Committee to take evidence, as it would be an "infringement" of Article 20 of the Constitution.

"Article 20 (iii) of the Constitution clearly states no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself," Chacko said.

Raja is an accused in the case and the trial was on, he told reporters here yesterday.

Chacko said the demand of the opposition members in the JPC for removal of its chairman was "quite baseless" as it was against the rules of the JPC's functioning. He described the opposition demand for his removal as Chairman and calling Raja before the JPC as "political stunt".

If Raja was called before JPC for "evidential statement", it would be a violation of the protection guaranteed in the fundamental rights of the Constitution to an accused, Chacko said.

He said if Raja was called before the JPC, at least 10 former Telecom Ministers would have to be summoned which would be unwieldy, Chacko said.

He said the next meeting of the JPC would be held in the first week of June.

To a question on the recent resignation of two Union ministers on charges of impropriety and BJP's demand that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh step down, Chacko said, "No politician in the country is capable of questioning the integrity and honesty of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh."

PTI