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Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Explainer: What is the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)?

Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is a parliamentary body of India consisting of members of both the Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) and Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament). It is formed to investigate matters of national importance, examine the existing laws and suggest improvements, and scrutinize the functioning of various government departments.

The JPC is an important body in the Indian parliamentary system as it plays a crucial role in maintaining the accountability of the government and ensuring that the laws are being implemented in a fair and just manner. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of the JPC in detail.

Composition of the Joint Parliamentary Committee

The JPC consists of 30 members, with 20 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 members from the Rajya Sabha. The members of the JPC are nominated by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, respectively.

The JPC is usually headed by a member of the ruling party or coalition, and the majority of its members are also from the ruling party. However, the JPC is expected to function in a non-partisan manner and carry out its duties impartially.

Powers and Functions of the Joint Parliamentary Committee

The JPC has broad powers and functions, which include:

  1. Investigation of Matters of National Importance: The JPC is empowered to investigate any matter of national importance, including matters related to corruption, security, and defence. The JPC can summon witnesses, examine documents and call for evidence to aid in its investigation.
  2. Scrutiny of Government Departments: The JPC can scrutinize the functioning of various government departments and agencies, including their budgetary allocations, policies, and programmes. It can make recommendations to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of these departments.
  3. Examination of Existing Laws: The JPC can examine existing laws and suggest improvements or amendments to them. It can also propose new legislation to address gaps in the existing legal framework.
  4. Oversight of Executive Actions: The JPC can oversee the actions of the executive branch of government and ensure that they are in compliance with the law and constitutional provisions.
  5. Report Submission: The JPC submits its reports to both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. The reports are usually made public and can be accessed by the general public.

Recent Examples of JPC Investigations

The JPC has conducted several high-profile investigations in the past, including:

  1. Bofors Scandal: The JPC was set up in 1987 to investigate the Bofors scandal, which involved allegations of corruption in the purchase of howitzer guns by the Indian Army from a Swedish company. The JPC submitted its report in 1988, which exonerated then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of any wrongdoing.
  2. 2G Spectrum Scam: The JPC was set up in 2011 to investigate the 2G spectrum scam, which involved irregularities in the allocation of 2G spectrum licenses by the government. The JPC submitted its report in 2013, which found no evidence of wrongdoing by then-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but criticized the allocation process.
  3. AgustaWestland Scam: The JPC was set up in 2013 to investigate the AgustaWestland scam, which involved allegations of bribery in the purchase of VVIP helicopters by the Indian Air Force. The JPC submitted its report in 2015, which criticized the previous government’s handling of the case.

Joint Parliamentary Committee is an important body in the Indian parliamentary system as it helps to maintain the accountability of the government and ensure that the laws are being implemented in a fair and just manner. Its investigations have helped to uncover instances of corruption and malfeasance, and its recommendations have led to

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