Excerpts of an interview with Subash Newang, Chairman, Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
Q. Do you feel that PAC directives are not being followed?
A. Till now the results were good, but in the Lauda Air case we feel that our directives have not been carried out.
Q. Does it mean that you can disregard PAC directives?
A. When parliament is not in session then PAC itself becomes a miniature parliament. Therefore there is no question of not following its directives. A decision made by it is similar to a decision made by parliament. By not heeding the directives, the government is not following the directives of parliament.
Q. What can PAC now do on the Lauda Air issue?
A. We are slowly reacting to what has taken place. The PAC has listened to the minister's statement on the issue. He said that disregard of PAC's directive was unintentional.
Q. Are you satisfied with the response?
A. The PAC is meeting again. We will discuss his response. As far as I am concerned, he could not give us a satisfactory answer. We asked him only one question, 'can parliament's directives be disobeyed under any circumstances?' He did not reply.
Q. What about summoning the PM for questioning?
A. The PAC is going to discuss this. If the PAC is not satisfied with the minister's answer, then we might go ahead. By ahead, we mean that the council of ministers and the PM can be called in for questioning. The PAC can call him. Right now I cannot say whether this is going to happen or not.
Q. Can parliament function properly if its directives are disobeyed?
A. Our constitution places responsibility on the council of ministers and the head of this council who is an elected representative. Therefore parliamentarians are compelled to follow the decisions and function responsibly. A parliament cannot function without this practice. Therefore we are arguing that disregarding our directive on Lauda Air has become a question of concern to parliament. This must stop otherwise parliament will not be able to function properly.