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Updated on: Friday, July 30, 2021, 08:30 AM IST

Shashi Tharoor writes to Om Birla, seeks action over 'last-minute refusal' of officials to appear before parliamentary panel

ANI
Photo Credit: ANI

Photo Credit: ANI

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New Delhi: Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology Chairman Shashi Tharoor on Thursday urged Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to take action over "last-minute refusal" of representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Communications to appear before the panel's meeting scheduled for July 28.

In a letter to the Speaker, Tharoor said the "last-minute refusal of the Ministries/Department to appear before the Committee has been unprecedented and clearly constitutes breach of parliamentary privilege and contempt of the House".

"Besides, this has undermined the authority of a Parliamentary Committee. I hope you will take serious cognizance of his matter and undertake action as deemed appropriate under the rules," he said.

Tharoor said the e-mail communications were received around 3 pm and he did not excuse the witnesses from attendance. He mentioned specific time of e-mails and the reasons given.

Tharoor, a Congress MP, said the sitting of the Standing Committee on Information Technology was scheduled to be held on July 28 to take evidence of the representatives of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Communications (Department of Telecommunications) on the subject 'Citizens data security and privacy'.

The subject has been selected and bulletinzed by the Committee for examination during the term (2020-21), he said, adding that the notice informing the members of the committee for the sitting was issued on July 20, 2021.

The letter said that the ministries and department were also informed of the sitting on July 20 under Rule 270 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha which empowers the Committee to send for persons, papers and records.

The letter said that all the three ministries/department had confirmed their participation for the sitting.

"However, just before the sitting was about to take place, I was informed by the Committee Branch of the Secretariat that e-mail communications have been received in the afternoon around 3 pm on from the three ministries/department informing that their representatives will not be able to appear before the committee," the letter said.

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Published on: Friday, July 30, 2021, 08:30 AM IST
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