New Delhi: There have been instances when a JPC was set up to investigate a certain matter, amid the opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) to probe the Hindenburg Report on the Adani Group. The JPC consists of selected members of both Houses. The number of Lok Sabha members is twice the number of Rajya Sabha members, so the ruling party will have a majority in the JPC. It has the power to summon any official or non-official person or group to give oral evidence. The JPC may receive evidence from experts, public bodies, associations, and individuals on its own motion or on request made by others. If a person summoned to witness fails to appear before the JPC in response to the summons, such conduct is treated as contempt of the House. The JPC may take oral and written evidence and call for documents in relation to the matter under its consideration.
The proceedings of parliamentary committees are confidential and ministers are not usually called by committees to give evidence. However, with the permission of the Speaker, she can call them.
The government can refuse to produce any document if it is considered prejudicial to the security and interest of the state.
Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh said that the JPC’s demand is justified and cannot be linked to Rahul Gandhi. He said, “Opposition is demanding JPC on Adani scam involving PM. But how can this be linked with BJP’s demand for an apology from Rahul Gandhi on completely baseless allegations. JPC probe into a genuine, documented scam.” The demand for an apology is a hoax. A move to divert attention from the Adani scam.”
The ruling party is demanding an apology from Rahul and the Speaker in the Upper House and the Speaker in the Lower House have tried to resolve the issue, but there is no further movement. Piyush Goyal accused the opposition of boycotting the meeting.
The JPC was constituted in 1987 on the Bofors scam and subsequent Harshad Mehta, Ketan Parekh cases, Land Acquisition Bill, 2G spectrum allocation and Data Protection Bill.
The Bofors JPC is headed by Congress leader B. Sankarananda did.
Harshad Mehta Stock Market Scam 1992 – Second JPC was constituted in August 1992. It was presided over by former Union Minister Ram Niwas Mirdha.
The third JPC was constituted in April 2001. It was tasked to investigate the Ketan Parekh stock market scam. Senior BJP member Lt Gen Prakash Mani Tripathi (retd) was named the chairman.
Soft drinks pesticide issue – The 4th JPC was constituted in August 2003 to examine pesticide residues in soft drinks, fruit juices and other beverages and other essential items and was headed by Nationalist Congress Party chief Sharad Pawar.
2G Spectrum Case – The fifth JPC was constituted in February 2011 to look into the 2G case and was headed by P.C. Chacko did it.
VVIP chopper scam – The JPC was constituted on February 27, 2013. It was adopted by a voice vote to probe the allegations of payment of kickbacks in the acquisition of VVIP helicopters by the Ministry of Defense from M/s AgustaWestland and the role of alleged middlemen in the transaction.