Chapter 13
Consultative Committees

Scope & functions

13.1.1 Consultative Committees consisting of members from both the Houses are constituted by the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for various departments of the Government of India and the strength thereof is fixed in consultation with the opposition parties/groups in  Parliament and with due regard to the respective strength of various parties/groups in Parliament. The committees are initially constituted after the constitution of the new Lok Sabha and thereafter their reconstitution is usually timed with the budget session.

13.1.2 The Consultative Committees are meant to provide a forum for informal discussion between the members and Ministers on the policies and the working of the department. The Minister concerned with each department or, in his unavoidable absence, the Minister of State, presides over the meetings of the Consultative Committee attached to his department.

When to be called

13.2.1 Meetings of the committees are arranged both during and between the sessions. At least one meeting of each committee should be held during session as well as inter-session period. The Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs ascertains suitable dates from the department concerned and fixes a date for the meeting and issues formal notices, etc., to the members and to others concerned.

 

13.2.2 At the discretion of the Chairman, one meeting of the committee may be held outside Delhi once a year. Arrangement  for boarding and lodging of the members at the venue of the meeting will be made by the department concerned.

Agenda for the meeting

13.3 Agenda items are either called from members or decided by the departments themselves in consultation with the members of the committee. If a member other than the members of a committee suggests any items for discussion in the meeting of a particular committee and those items are included in the agenda, he may be invited for the meeting subject to the condition that he will not be entitled to any TA/DA for attending such meeting.

Circulation of briefs

13.4 The concerned sections in the department will prepare detailed briefs on the items in the agenda and forward them to their Parliament Unit. The Parliament Unit will forward the briefs to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for circulation among members of the committee. The approval of the Minister will be obtained if:

(a)  any item suggested by the member is proposed to be excluded from the agenda; or

(b)  if it is considered not necessary to circulate a brief on any item.

      In the case of (a) above, the member concerned will be suitably informed, while in the case of (b), a self-contained note will be prepared for the use of the Minister.

Deliberations of committees

13.5 At these committees, Members of Parliament are free to discuss any matter which can appropriately be discussed in Parliament. Deliberations of the committees are considered informal and purely advisory and
no reference thereto can be made on the floor of the House either by the Minister or by the members of the committee. Care should, therefore, be exercised by all concerned in the department, while preparing briefs for Ministers in regard to other parliamentary business, to avoid references to deliberations of the Consultative Committees.

Attendance by officers and production of documents

  

13.6 The meetings of the committees are attended by senior officers of the department to assist the Minister with facts and figures. The committee, however, cannot summon any witness or ask for production of documents.

Record of discussion and further action

 

13.7 The department concerned will prepare and circulate among members of the committee, through the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs, a brief record of discussions of the meetings. Where there is unanimity of view in the committee, the Government will normally accept it, except when it finds it not possible to do so on the grounds of:

(a)  financial implications;

(b)  security of state; and

(c)  the matter falling within the purview of an autonomous institution 

     In cases of non-acceptance, reasons therefore will be given to the committee in its next meeting.

 

13.8 The minutes of the meetings should be finalised at the earliest, preferarly within a week after the meeting, and the concerned department should transmit them to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs for circulation among the members of the committee. Similarly, action taken reports (Hindi and English versions) on the decisions taken in the previous meetings and agenda notes, etc., for the next meeting should be sent to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs at least 10 days before the next meeting of the committee. The number of copies of agenda notes/minutes/ action taken report to be sent to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs should be equivalent to the total membership of the committee plus 10 for the meetings to be held during the session period and the same should be equivalent to the double of the membership of the committee plus 10 in respect of the meetings to be held during inter-session period.