The leakage to the media of the draft report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee reportedly giving clean chit to the Prime Minister on the 2G scam is a serious breach of parliamentary propriety and deserves to be strongly condemned. If the source of the leakage is the Congress party as is being widely believed it is a poor reflection on the manner in which the ruling party is reducing the system of parliamentary committees to fulfil its partisan political agenda. Such a cavalier attitude will only lead to devaluation of the time-tested institutions of parliamentary democracy which have functioned as effective instruments for enforcing accountability of the government to the people’s representatives.
Propriety demanded that the report draft should have been debated, discussed, amendments moved in the formal meeting of the JPC and only thereafter should it have been released to the media for discussion. In the current case the media has got access to it even before the members did. That the draft clears both Manmohan Singh and Chidambaram of any role in 2G spectrum allocation and fixes blame wholly on then telecom minister A. Raja is devoid of credibility. It was patently unfair of the JPC chairman to disallow the telecom minister’s plea to be called before the JPC to depose.
The rejection of the demand of some members that Singh and Chidambaram be called to answer issues raised by Raja was also an impediment to getting to the truth. Evidently, there was an attempt at the highest levels to cover up even though Raja had stated categorically that all his decisions had the approval of the PM. The report will have to be passed by 16 of the 30 members of the JPC to be considered cleared. While the Congress has only 12 members it would predictably resort to the usual strategems to get it through. With the largesse announced for Bihar recently, the Janata Dal (United)’s two members may fall in line while the BSP and SP can be brought around.