The following is a guest post by Kisholoy Mukherjee.
The one piece of news that is really doing the rounds the last few days is the face off between the Congress and the opposition regarding the JPC. The winter session of the Parliament was a complete waste of national resources as it was adjudged “sine die” for weeks at a stretch. Not surprisingly, the media has been very “proactive” in bringing out this news as it was unfolding..Now the PM has come ahead and declared that he is “willing to appear before the PAC”…The opposition of course isn’t happy with that and the NDA are holding rallies across Delhi..Few simple but as yet unanswered questions remain:
1. What is the scope of the PAC and that of the JPC and how do they compare in terms of penetrability into the investigation? Why is there even a debate on this in the first place? Why is it not clear?? How is it that so many law graduates and post graduates working in the Parliament (since most parliamentarians are from legal backgrounds) cannot make it clear as to what is the scope of the two investigative committees? Perhaps they should all go back to their books and read up constitution and the laws of the nation once more to end this confusion
2. Why can’t they both operate simultaneously?? Will that cause any particular problem, like coming in the way of one another? But working in tandem should be good in two ways: a) they could help each other with their findings by sharing progress and evidences and b) they could act as each others’ watchdogs. Why then do the two parties not agree?
3. Which investigating agency is really supposed to be the one doing the probe, as per law? Isn’t an Apex court (the SC) the best (available) option when such doubts arise regarding the credibility of all other investigating bodies? Why should ANY parliamentary committee, be it the PAC or the JPC, be any better than a judicial probe, given the high level of corruption among ministers?
4. Also, whether it is the media or even the opposition, there seems to be a presumption regarding the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s credibility and integrity. I really want to challenge this odd notion – why the hell on earth should we have to assume that? So many scams have raised their ugly heads during his tenure as PM, one after the other, and yet we have to assume that despite being the highest minister of the country and also the senior most leader of the INC, he actually knew nothing and remained in the dark? Who are we fooling here? Everybody seems to be so careful about not sounding undiplomatic whenever the PM’s name comes up. The PM’s signature or knowledge is most certainly needed in appointment in top officials like the CVC (‘tainted Thomas’) – what was he doing then? Taking a slumber? And that he was well aware of what was going on with 2G spectrum allocation policy subversion, is quite clear from some letters that were exchanged between him, TRAI officials and A Raja. Why the heck do we have to believe that he didn’t play a part in the scams? And even in the most unlikely case that he wasn’t involved in the scam, his inaction all this time speaks volumes.
5. Why is everyone bending over backwards to shower their praises for the PM, just because he has said he will appear before the PAC? Why shouldn’t he, just because IT IS STANDARD PROCEDURE?? Why should anyone be treated differently in the eyes of the law? If anyone is remotely associated with any criminal case and there is even prima facie evidence of that link (in this case no evidence is needed even to establish such a link…it was his damn party Congress and his govt. that was directly involved in wrongdoings for heaven’s sake!!) then he or she should be made subject to scrutiny and all other forms of rigorous investigative procedure that are deemed necessary, irrespective of whether he is an aam admi or a Prime minister.
6. Also, why is the PM and the Congress so wary of JPC? If they are prepared to go for a probe by PAC, headed by a member of opposition, Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi, then what is the big problem with JPC? Is Mr Murli joining hands with Congress in this matter? Why does the Congress want PAC so much? They haven’t given any good reason why they can’t go ahead with JPC. Just bringing up past failure isn’t good enough. We still do not see why JPC will be any worse than a PAC, then why this stubbornness over JPC? And they just can’t blame the Opposition only for the stalemate in the Parliament this winter session – they themselves have to shoulder 50% of the responsibility for not being able to arrive at a solution and more importantly, for not being able to give a concrete and admissible reason for not taking up JPC, thereby raising suspicions of some conspiracy or secret reason for their extreme obstinacy.