Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman and senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi will seek the opinion of constitutional experts on the fate of his “report” on the 2G scam, which was returned by Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar.
Joshi made this decision after a three-hour PAC meeting on Tuesday — where he placed before the PAC, the speaker’s letter — saw widespread disagreement, with Congress members insisting that his “report” was “non-existent” as the speaker had returned it.
“I have told the committee that we will discuss with constitutional experts and then put those opinions before the committee,” Joshi said later.
While this is being seen as an attempt by Joshi to keep the matter alive after the speaker returned his “report”, thus denying it legitimacy, Congress members privately say that they see it as “shelved”.
Congress members such as Jayanthi Natarajan and Sanjay Nirupam are believed to have questioned the logic of taking up the matter now.
Significantly, there was a change in the approach of the DMK and BSP members, who had backed the government when the matter had come to a head during the final stages of the previous PAC, where Joshi had pushed the said “report”.
DMK’s Adhi Shankar and BSP’s Satish Mishra are believed to have favoured the circulation of the report, with the BSP member even asking Joshi to take a call on the matter as chairperson.
BJP members insist the matter is not over, and argue that PAC reports are passed after paragraph-wise discussion — in which points of disagreement may be taken out through a vote — which Congress members did not allow during the previous PAC.
Congress members, however, insist that reports can be nothing but unanimous.
“If this is to be the norm, why have committees to be watchdogs, as the government will always have a majority and shelve any report that goes against them,” said a BJP leader. “It is to guard against the government’s taking advantage of its numbers that the PAC chairperson is always from the opposition.”
Meanwhile, Congress leader Manish Tiwari said, “Stop sacrificing parliamentary propriety at the altar of political expediency. The tenure of the old PAC is over and a new PAC is in place... Why is a report of the previous committee is being pushed down the throat of the new PAC.”