Rejecting Opposition demand for removal of P C Chacko as Joint Parliamentary Committee chairman, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Thursday asked the panel chief and members to work out an agreeable solution to end the current "impasse" on its report on 2G Spectrum.
Kumar also turned down the plea of some Congress members that Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad -- should be barred from attending proceedings of the committee, as they were instrumental in the decision-making process related to telecom between 1998 and 2004.
Fifteen members from Opposition parties including from former United Progressive Alliance allies Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and Trinamool Congress, had earlier written separate letters to the Speaker contending that they have "no confidence" in the JPC chairman and had appealed to her to immediately replace him with another member of the panel on allocation and pricing of telecom licences and spectrum.
Countering the allegations, the JPC members belonging to the Congress have also written to the Speaker refuting the contentions made by the Opposition members.
Six Congress members in the 30-member panel including E M S Natchiappan had on April 25 written to the Speaker that Sinha, Singh and Prasad were instrumental in the decision-making process related to the telecom policy and hence, it would not be fair to allow them to sit on judgment on their own decisions.
Expressing anguish over the contentions expressed in the letters, the Speaker asked the chairman and the members to "sink" their differences. "The faith reposed by Parliament is betrayed by trading allegations against each other. It is, therefore, necessary for the chairman and the members to sink their differences and present a report as mandated by Parliament," she said.
Noting that the question of replacing the JPC chairman has been examined in the light of the existing rules and the past practice in this regard, Kumar said, "...Due to absence of express provisions in the rules, it will be difficult to remove the chairman of any parliamentary committee."