With Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar refusing to bail him out over the issue of summoning Finance Minister P Chidambaram as a witness,Joint Parliamentary Committee Chairman P C Chacko has decided to seek the majoritys view within the panel. The committee is looking into allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum between 1998 and 2009.
Chacko Monday said rules did not permit the JPC to call a minister. However,going by two precedents,the Speaker could allow a committee to do so. Keeping in mind the demand made by the BJP,he had referred the matter to the Speaker. However,she had refused to intervene by pointing out that any issue related to the panel and its functioning had to be resolved by its members themselves.
He maintained that ideally,a committee should try working on the basis of a consensus. In case,its not possible,the sole way for taking a decision is to go by the view of a majority. Therefore,he would obtain the majoritys opinion. The Congress,its allies and supporting parties enjoy a majority in the 30-member committee.
Chacko said since rules do not empower the JPC to send for a minister,the committee decision will be placed before the Speaker for her consideration and approval.
The BJP has six members in the JPC. They have threatened to resign if Chacko fails to accept their demand to summon PM Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram. BJP members boycotted the JPC meeting last week and Sinha wrote a letter to Chacko,contending that rules can be be modified to enable the panel to summon a minister as a witnesses.