Calling PM, FM as witnesses before JPC: Sinha writes to Chacko

Last Updated: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 21:35

New Delhi: Upping the ante on calling the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister as witnesses before JPC, BJP members of the panel on Monday insisted that a decision on the issue should not be taken according to the majority view of the committee.
Writing a fresh letter to JPC Chairman P C Chacko, BJP member of the panel Yashwant Sinha said despite a rule stating that all questions relating to a committee will be determined by a majority vote of the members, the norm is that committees try to reach a consensus and not take decisions through voting.

"Committees have functioned on the basis of consensus rather than on the basis of votes," Sinha said.

"The rule also does not apply to all the Committees. For instance, as far as the PAC is concerned, it is clearly stated that decisions of the Committee are unanimous and there are no dissents to the report," he added.

Sinha was referring to Rule 261 of the `Rules of Procedure of Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha` which Chacko had quoted to state that a decision on calling of witnesses should be taken as per the view of the majority of the members.

Sinha also pointed out that Chacko had not to vote put his suggestion of calling Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaraman as witnesses and so could not claim that a majority of the JPC members were opposed to the idea.

"You have never put my suggestions to vote in the
committee. Therefore, to allude that the members of the committee are against my suggestions is not based on facts," Sinha said.

He also countered Chacko`s stand that as a member of JPC, he cannot "sit on judgement" by deposing as a witness. He recalled that in the 1992 JPC on the securities scam, he had rendered a written evidence despite being a member of the committee.

Chacko has maintained that if the finance minister is called as a witness, then all previous finance ministers since 1998 will have to be called in chronological order.

The chairperson has himself said that Sinha and another BJP member Jaswant Singh - who like Sinha is a former finance minister - will also have to be summoned if Chidambaram deposes. Chacko had said that Sinha and Singh will have to quit the JPC if they have to depose before it.

"I shall continue to believe that good sense shall prevail and you will agree to our request. Parliament of India and specially Parliamentary Committees cannot encourage corruption on the basis of majority," Sinha said.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 22, 2012 - 21:35

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