M A I N   N E W S

Announcement likely tomorrow;
PM predicts peaceful Budget session
Aditi Tandon/TNS

New Delhi, February 20
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today signalled an end to the persisting parliamentary deadlock over the Opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) probe into the 2G Spectrum scam, saying he was looking forward to a “peaceful and productive Budget session”.

The session begins tomorrow with a joint Presidential address to the twin Houses, followed by the presentation of budgets (rail & general) on February 25 and 28, respectively.

This is the first time since the government began engaging with the Opposition on the issue (four meetings have been held so far) that the PM chose to speak on the matter.

Today, after attending the two-hour pre-session meeting, called by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar and attended by leaders of various parties in the Lower House, the PM said this session would be the most crucial.

“A lot of legislative business has to be accomplished and the Budget passed. This truly is the most important session and I hope it will be a fruitful one. We are ready to discuss anything in the Parliament,” he told reporters even as the Opposition BJP clarified that smooth Parliament operations would depend on the government’s formal announcement of a JPC as soon as the Parliament assembles for business this Tuesday.

“Unless the government announces a JPC on February 22, we will continue to agitate,” Deputy Leader of the BJP in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde told The Tribune, indicating a possible disruption of the Question Hour if the JPC announcement is not immediately made on Tuesday.

The BJP, however, appeared less rigid on its demand of an all-encompassing JPC to probe the Commonwealth Games and Adarsh Housing scams. It said it would raise corruption, price rise and black money issues in Parliament.

The Left, too, expressed concerns on corruption, with CPI leader in the Lok Sabha Gurudas Dasgupta saying: “Corruption is economic terrorism. We want to know what the government is doing to stop it.” He refrained from commenting on the JPC in deference to Leader of Lok Sabha Pranab Mukherjee’s appeal today to the leaders to avoid commenting on the matter outside the Parliament.

Meanwhile, the Speaker will chair another meeting of the floor leaders on Tuesday morning before the formal business starts.

With even the PM silent on the JPC today (the government is still defining its terms of reference), top UPA sources told The Tribune that “there was a consensus now that the Parliament should run”. “Once the government has said it wants the Parliament to run, it will find the ways to do so. A formal resolution in the form of a motion to form the JPC can be moved on Tuesday and adopted by the House or a statement regarding the government’s decision to form a JPC can precede the motion,” sources said.

Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar also expressed hope that the deadlock would end considering everyone’s determination to run the Parliament which has remained stalled since November last year. “The government and other parties are seriously engaged on the matter. I am hopeful the deadlock will end,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Opposition has asked the government to enlarge the ambit of a JPC beyond 30 members to accommodate one MP per party. “There is no rule that the JPC will comprise only 30 members. There can be 40, even more”, Munde said. The Lok Sabha has 37 parties and the smaller ones like the CPI might not find representation if the JPC membership stays fixed at 30. JPC members are drawn depending on the party’s strength in the House.

A flashback

Aug 1987: JPC formed to probe the Bofors gun deal. It held 50 sittings; gave its report in 1988.

Aug 1992: Panel formed to inquire into irregularities in securities and banking transactions (Harshad Mehta scam) It held 96 sittings, gave report in December 1993.

April 2001: Committee formed to probe market scam. It held 105 sittings; gave report in December 2002.

Aug 2003: JPC on pesticide residues and safety standards for soft drinks, fruit juice and other beverages. Held 17 sittings, gave report in February 2004.


  • A JPC is normally constituted to investigate a serious issue which has agitated the public mind and involves large-scale corruption.
  • It’s a nominated body with chairperson and majority of members from the ruling party/coalition as in other parliamentary committees.
  • Rules of procedure of the Parliament don’t contain specific rules governing the constitution of a JPC. General rules relating to House committees apply to it.
  • It is constituted on a motion moved by a minister of the government or Leader of the Lok Sabha (Pranab Mukherjee, this time). The panel normally has 20 LS and 10 RS members





HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Letters | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |