PAC canít summon PM
to answer note ban queries?
Times of India,
January 14, 2017
Committee chair K V Thomas had to backtrack on his remarks
suggesting PM Narendra Modi could be summoned to answer queries
on demonetisation with the panel concluding that this is against
The meeting of the
PAC on Friday saw BJP members vehemently object to Thomas's
comments, arguing that he had quoted precedents incorrectly and
rules governing financial committee do not permit calling
ministers or the PM. They told Thomas that they will not allow
the committee to function if Thomas did not correct his remarks.
initially insisted that he would not retract or offer any
clarification, he finally agreed to BJD leader Bhartruhari
Mahtab drafting a statement that said: "Ministers shall not be
called before the committee either to give evidence or
consultation in connection with the examination of estimates of
accounts." The committee noted that "however, chairperson, when
considered necessary but after its deliberations are concluded,
may have an informal interaction with the minister" but made it
clear this was "informal" and that rules do not permit summoning
of ministers or the PM.
BJP MP Nishikant
Dubey, who had earlier written to Thomas protesting his
comments, is understood to have said that the instance of C
Subramaniam, agriculture minister in 1966, appearing before the
panel was inaccurate.
Subramaniam did not appear before the panel and had, in fact,
offered to present himself. The MP pointed out that the case
related to personal charges and there was a history of
differences with then PAC chair R R Morarka.
Also, in the case of
former PM Manmohan Singh being called before the committee,
Singh had "offered" to do so. The then PAC chairperson M M Joshi
did not actually seek Singh's presence and Sushma Swaraj as
leader of opposition did not support the move, BJP MPs are
understood to have said.
BJP members pointed
to President Pranab Mukherjee's reaction ó as finance minister ó
to Singh's offer to appear before the PAC. Mukherjee had said
that he would have advised Singh not to make such an offer as
constitutionally the PM is accountable to the Lok Sabha and not
After around 90
minutes of heated discussions, Thomas agreed to the drafting of
a statement clarifying the rules. This was done by a couple of
senior members of the PAC and the matter was seen to be settled.
Sources pointed out
that the rules were clear that should the committee feel the
need to interact with a minister, a request is made to the Lok
Sabha Speaker who can facilitate an interaction. This usually
involves only the PAC chairperson though a request can be made
to include all members of the panel in such an interaction.
It was also pointed
out that former PM Manmohan Singh had appeared before a joint
parliamentary committee on the stocks scam which was altogether
different from the PAC.
This news can also be viewed at: