Govt changed original draft of JPC after BJP objection | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Govt changed original draft of JPC after BJP objection

delhi Updated: Feb 25, 2011 00:47 IST
Vikas Pathak
Vikas Pathak
Hindustan Times
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A day before the motion to set up a joint parliamentary committee (JPC) to probe the 2G spectrum scam was introduced in the Lok Sabha, the government reportedly faced an opposition stonewall over the language of the draft motion.

With some BJP leaders accusing the government of wording the resolution in such a way that only former Telecom Minister Arun Shourie’s tenure from January 2003 to May 2004 would be probed, the government reportedly reworded the draft to satisfy the Opposition.

The controversy was this: the original draft – according to a senior BJP leader – read, “That a joint committee of both the Houses… be appointed… to examine policy prescriptions and their interpretation thereafter by successive governments consequent to decisions by the Union Cabinet in the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to 2009.”

This meant that only those policy prescriptions that were a result of a Cabinet decision would be probed. “As decisions made by former Telecom Minister A Raja did not go through the Cabinet, the draft would practically leave him out. This would mean that only the role of the NDA Telecom Minister in 2003 Arun Shourie would be probed,” said a senior BJP leader. “This was an attempted sleight of hand by the government and they had to change the draft at night after we let our objections be known.”

The changed draft of the motion – which was eventually introduced in the Lok Sabha – had an altered language: “That a joint committee… be appointed… to examine policy prescriptions and their interpretation thereafter by successive governments, including decisions of the Union Cabinet and the consequences thereof, in the allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum from 1998 to 2009.”

The opposition had similarly attacked the government at the time the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill was being discussed, accusing it of adding an “and” between clauses 17(A) and (B) of the Bill to “dilute” supplier liability. The government had to change tack then too, and the “and” was deleted.

Spot the difference

Original draft

That a joint committee… be appointed… to examine policy prescriptions and interpretation by governments consequent to decisions by the Union Cabinet in allocation and pricing of licences... from 1998 to 2009

Draft changed to

That a joint committee… be appointed… to examine policy prescriptions and interpretation by governments, including decisions of the Union Cabinet and the consequences thereof, in allocation and pricing of licences... from 1998 to 2009.

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