26 years, 6 formations and clean chit to the government in all; Still, why is there a demand for JPC inquiry in the Adani case?
JPC has been constituted 6 times in 26 years and the government got a clean chit in all. In 2013, the process of JPC formation remained incomplete and the government got relief from this too. JPC is again in discussion after Adani case.
After the Hindenburg report on industrialist Gautam Adani and his companies, there has been a ruckus in the Parliament. Several opposition parties, including the Congress, are demanding an inquiry into the matter by constituting a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC). The government has rejected it, after which the proceedings of the Parliament have come to a standstill for the last two days.
After 1987, a total of 6 times JPC has been formed in India, in which 4 times in the Congress government and 2 times in the BJP government. Interestingly, the governments of Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao, Manmohan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee who formed the JPC could not be repeated again.
In this story, know about JPC and its functioning…
What is JPC and how does it work?
According to the rules, a provision has been made for two committees in the Parliament. First, permanent committee and second temporary committee. The Standing Committee works full-time and oversees the government’s finances and other matters. A temporary committee is formed on a particular issue, on which the committee prepares a report and presents it in the House.
JPC is formed under the temporary committee itself. JPC has been given unlimited powers to collect evidence. Ignoring the instructions of the committee is considered contempt of the Parliament.
Who has the right to form JPC?
The central government recommends the formation of JPC on any issue. After the recommendation, a resolution is also passed in the Lok Sabha. After this, both the Houses i.e. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha together constitute the JPC.
The number of Lok Sabha MPs in JPC is twice that of Rajya Sabha. Members of both the Houses of the Parliament are in it, due to which it is called Joint Parliamentary Committee.
There is also a chairman in JPC, whose decision is considered universal. Interestingly, usually the MPs of the ruling party have become its president.
Why JPC is necessary, 2 points…
MPs from all parties are included in the JPC. In such a situation, an unbiased report is expected from the committee. Even if the majority members of the committee try to suppress a matter, then the members of the minority can register their objection. In the Bofors case, the AIDMK MP had filed an objection note against the investigation.
According to Congress MP Manish Tiwari, Gautam Adani’s case is related to stock market and public sector bank loans. In such a situation, the authority that the Joint Parliamentary Committee has, will give answers to many questions in this matter.
JPC was formed every now and then, what was the result?
- Bofors Scam- In the year 1987, a defense deal worth Rs 1437 crore was signed between Sweden’s arms manufacturing company Bofors and the Government of India. Meanwhile, news came in the Swedish media that Bofors has bribed the government of many countries for the defense deal. Here, Rajiv Gandhi’s close minister VP Singh opened a front against the government itself.
As a result, Rajiv Gandhi had to set up a JPC to investigate the matter. Congress leader B. Shankaranand was made the chairman of the committee. The committee gave a clean chit to Rajiv Gandhi in its report.
After the report came, the opposition created a lot of ruckus on it. Rajiv Gandhi, who won 414 seats in 1984, had to face defeat in 1989. VP Singh, who strongly raised the Bofors scam, became the Prime Minister of the country.
- Harshad Mehta- Broker Harshad Mehta, known as Big Bull in the stock market, came into limelight in 1992. At that time there was a stock market scam of Rs 4000 crore. Mehta was accused of investing money in the stock market by taking a loan from the bank and then returning the money to the bank after making a profit.
When the news of the nexus between the bank officials and Harshad Mehta came to the fore, the stock market went into a tizzy. After the matter came to light, 72 criminal cases were registered against Mehta. Meanwhile, Mehta held a press conference and claimed that he had given a bribe of Rs 1 crore to the Prime Minister.
The opposition got this big issue while sitting. After a lot of uproar in the House, the government decided to form a JPC on this. Congress MP Ram Niwas Mirdha was made its president. Mirdha gave a clean chit to Narasimha Rao in the matter.
Despite getting a clean chit, the genie of the stock scam continued to haunt Rao. The Congress was defeated in the 1996 elections and the party split into several factions. Rao had to be thrown out of power in Delhi.
- Ketan Parekh Case- In 2001, like Harshad Mehta, the name of broker Ketan Parekh started flashing in the media. Parekh was accused of fraud of Rs 2 lakh crore. Because of Parekh, the Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank of Ahmedabad completely sank.
The taint of the scam also hit the Vajpayee government, after which a JPC was formed under the chairmanship of BJP MP retired Lt. General Prakash Mani Tripathi. This committee also gave a clean chit to the government and recommended changes in the rules of the stock market.
- Case of pesticides in soft drinks- When the matter of keeping more quantity of pesticides in soft drinks like Coca-Cola, Pepsi was raised in the Parliament, Vajpayee government announced to form JPC. This time Sharad Pawar of the opposition was given its chairmanship.
The JPC headed by Pawar admitted that pesticides are being mixed in soft drinks and fruit juices. The committee also submitted a recommendation to the government. A few days later, the Lok Sabha elections were held and the formation of JPC proved to be a turning point for the Vajpayee government.
Riding on the chariot of Bharat Uday, the BJP failed to form the government and the Congress-led UPA government was formed in the country.
- 2G Spectrum Case- In 2009-10, when the matter of taking bribe in the spectrum allocation case came to the fore, the Congress was badly engulfed on the issue of corruption. The then Telecom Minister A Raja also had to go to jail. Manmohan government announced formation of JPC in 2011 after Parliament stalled for several days.
The chairmanship of the JPC was handed over to Congress MP PC Chacko. Within a few days, Chacko gave a clean chit to PM Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the draft report. 15 MPs protested on the report.
In the final report in 2013, the committee blamed the then Telecom Minister for the 2G spectrum scam. This scam proved very harmful for the Congress.
- VVIP Chopper Scam– The Government of India signed a Rs 3,700+ crore deal with AgustaWestland for the purchase of helicopters for VVIPs including the President, Vice President and Prime Minister. It was alleged that the company had bribed politicians and officials for this deal.
Manmohan Singh government proposed formation of JPC in 2013 for investigation. The JPC could not be formed despite the resolution being passed by the Rajya Sabha. Because the main opposition party BJP, JDU and Trinamool Congress boycotted it. Later the investigation of the case was given to the CBI only.
Even for the Manmohan government, the formation of JPC proved to be a panauti and in 2014 the Congress lost badly.
When the government rejected the demand of JPC
Many such scams also came to the fore, in which the government turned down the demand for a JPC inquiry. Among these, the case of coffin scam, Rafale scam and nuclear deal is prominent.
The Manmohan government had also refused to get the Adarsh housing scam of Maharashtra investigated by the JPC.