Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chowdhary ruled on Wednesday that interference by any constitutional body or a statutory body or any other body in the functioning of the Assembly, its Public Accounts Committee or any other legislative committee would constitute a breach of privilege of the House.
The ruling sets the Bihar Legislature on the course of a possible confrontation with the judiciary.
It comes in the wake of the July 15 Patna High Court order, directing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to inquire into unadjusted advances totalling Rs 11,412 crore from 2002-2008, reported in a Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG’s) report.
The Speaker also ruled that government departments could not place the relevant papers for the consideration of any body other than the committee assigned for the job.
“The CAG report for the fiscal ending March 31, 2008 was placed before the House on July 14, 2009 under section 151 (2) of the Indian Constitution.
The report, as per the rule 235 of the Bihar Legislative Rules was referred to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC),” said the Speaker, in his ruling.
The Speaker said that rule 236 clearly mentioned that financial reports and CAG reports would not be taken up for discussion by the House until a final report of the PAC had been submitted.
The report of the CAG or on other financial matters come in for discussion only after the PAC chairman sends a proposal to this effect.
“The PAC has not made any proposal in this regard after the CAG report was handed over to it. It is still under consideration of the PAC,” said the Speaker.
The Speaker cited various sections of the Constitution, purporting to show that the judiciary could not examine the proceedings of the legislature.
In particular, he referred to Section 212 of the Constitution and Ramchandra Rao versus A.P.R. Committee to drive home his point.