We will know about Joint Parliamentary Committee and its Features and Functions. Its going to very very useful for WBCS Mains 2019.
We all know that Indian Parliament consists of the Lok Sabha (Lower House), Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and the President of India. The Parliament has varied, complex and voluminous job moreover it is not able to spend required time in scrutinizing all legislative measures and other matters. It ,therefore, assisted by number of committees in the discharge of duties. The Constitution of India makes a mention of these committees at different places but did not mention the specific provision regarding their composition, tenure, function etc. Features of parliamentary committee are –
- Committee is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker/Chairman.
- Works under the direction of the Speaker/ Chairman
- Presents its report to the House or to the Speaker/Chairman
- Has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha/ Rajya Sabha
Parliamentary committee are of two types –Standing Committee( permanent type) and Ad hoc Committee which are temporary and disintegrates immediately after completion of the task entrusted to them.When a Bill tables before a Housefor general discussion, that house may refer it to the Select Committee of the House or a Joint Committee of the two Houses.
Joint Committee set up by a motion passed in one House of the Parliament and seconded by the other House. The Joint Parliamentary Committee are constituted to investigate serious issues which have agitated the public mind and which involves frauds or corruption on a large scale.
A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is an ad-hoc body. It is set up for a specific object and duration. Joint committees are set up by a motion passed in one house of Parliament and agreed to by the other. The details regarding membership and subjects are also decided by Parliament.Such committees are set up on the basis of a consensus arrived at between the Government and the Opposition. JPC is a potent investigation mechanism that Parliament utilises for probing into different matters that comes time to time.
Joint Parliamentary Committee is given with some powers that are very much needed for necessary enquiry to cause.
- Joint Parliamentary Committee can inspects all documents related with the enquiry.
- Joint Parliamentary Committee can invite interested parties for enquiry
- Joint Parliamentary Committee can collect oral or written evidences from the experts.
- The proceedings of the parliamentary committee are confidential.
- Ministers are not called to give evidence
- The Speaker has the power to take decision on any disputes over calling for evidence against a person or production of a document.
- If a witness fails to appear before the committee against the summons issued by the JPC, HIS conductconstitutesa contempt of the House.
- Government can deny access to any documents if Government feels it is necessary not to be disclosed in the interest of safety and security of the country.
The Joint Parliamentary Committee has been constituted so far on several subjects. These are as follow –
- Bofors Scandal (1987) – formed in August, 1987 and headed byCongress Politician B. Shankarand. The committee submitted report on April 26, 1988. The report was placed in the Parliament but it was rejected by the Opposition.
- Harshad Mehta Stock Market Scam (1992) – formed in August 1992, chaired by former Union Minister and Congress leader Ram Niwas Mirdha. The recommendations of the committee were neither accepted in full nor implemented.
- Ketan Parekh Share Market Scam (2001) – formed in April,2001. The then Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan initiated the motion. The committee put its report on December 19, 2002.
- Soft drunk pesticide issue (2003) – formed in August, 2003. It was chaired by Nationalist Congress Party chief Sarad Power. The committee submitted report on 4 February, 2004. The report confirmed the presence of pesticide residues in the soft drinks.
- 2G Spectrum Case ( 2011) – formed in February, 2011. It was headed by P.C. Chako, Congress leader. Report of this committee gave clean chit to the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and on which six parties put their note of dissent.
- VVIP Chopper Scam (2013) –formed in February, 2013 with 30 members among which 10 from Rajya Sabha and 20 from Lok Sabha. The motion was moved by the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Kamal Nath. It was probing to identify the role of middleman in the purchase of the 12 helicopters from AgustaWestland, a helicopter design and manufacturing company of Italy.
- The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement ( Second Amendment ) Bill, 2015 – formed in May, 2015 consist g of 30 members, headed byShri S.S Ahluwalia, M.P but later charge took by ShriGanesh Singh , Loksabha M.P. from BJP. This committee has not yet submitted any report and it seems that ruling party lost their interest because most of their members did not turn up for the meeting which again held after a long gap. The bill intends to remove the consent clause for acquiring land for industrial corridors, public-private projects, rural infrastructure, affordable housing and defence.
- Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016– formed on August 11, 2016, headed by BJP M.P. Rajendra Agarwal and includes 10 no. of Rajyasabha members and 20 no.of Loksabha members.
This bill intends to give citizenshipto people from minority communitiesfrom Afganisthan, Pakisthan and Bangladesh – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, and Christian after 6 years instead of 12 years of residence in India for those who do not have proper documents. Muslims are not there in the list on the ground that they are majority communities in the three neighbouring countries. TheCongress Party is in favour of keeping Bangladesh out of purview of this bill while BJP wants to keep Assam out of this as National Register of Citizens is already there and it is creating much hue and cry over there. This is still pending till date.
Recently many party were raising demand for Joint Parliamentary Committee over the issue of Rafale deal which was the purchase of 36 Rafale jet fighters for the Air Force from France. But the Government rejected the demand.