New Delhi; Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has asked chairpersons and members of parliamentary standing committees to refrain from providing to the media confidential information related to panel meetings.
In a letter to the panel chiefs, Naidu said it has been observed that the media has been quoting in their reportage the proceedings of the committees related to the subject matters or the legislative bills under their consideration and examination.
“As you are aware, the proceedings of the Committee meetings are confidential and it is not permissible for a Member of the Committee or anyone who has access to its proceedings to communicate, directly or indirectly to the media any information regarding its proceedings, including any part of the report or any conclusions arrived at by the Committee, finally or tentatively before the report has been presented to the House, as such action tantamount to breach of privilege of the House,” Naidu said in the letter.
His action came days after Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla wrote a similar letter to chairpersons of parliamentary standing committees asking them to ensure confidentiality of the panel meetings.
“I urge upon you to impress upon the Members of the Parliament belonging to your Committee and participating in the proceedings to strictly adhere to the existing provisions/direction relating to confidentiality and refrain from premature divulgence of any information to the media, till the Reports are presented to the House,” Naidu said.
The letter assumes significance as the chairmen of both Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, who are from the Congress party, were at loggerheads with the BJP members of the panels over selection of the subjects for committee meetings.
The members of the ruling party have alleged that the Congress chairpersons made these subjects public for media attention before discussing them with the committee.