Parliamentary panel on IT drops J&K internet suspension issue from agenda

Committee headed by Congress leader Shashi Tharoor was earlier warned by Speaker against taking up issues that are pending in the court

A global investigation led by Amnesty International has revealed that more than 142 people in India were identified as potential targets for surveillance using Israeli firm NSO’s Pegasus spyware | Representative Photo iStock

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology on Friday (August 29) dropped the issue pertaining to the suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir from its agenda, owing to the sub-judice nature of the matter.

Earlier, Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla had recommended the panel not to take up sub-judice matters in their meetings.

The panel headed by Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, however, will go ahead with the meeting where Facebook has been summoned with regard to a Wall Street Journal article which claimed that the social media giant refused to apply hate speech rules to certain ruling party politicians.

As per the updated agenda issued by the Lok Sabha Secretariat on Friday, the panel will discuss suspension of telecom or internet services in Bihar and Delhi in its meeting scheduled for September 1. An earlier agenda had included Jammu and Kashmir too.

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Tharoor has faced flak from the BJP members of the panel for taking up the internet and Facebook issue for discussion.

Related news: Civil society report paints chilling image of Kashmir since internet siege

BJP MP Nishikant Dubey had also written a letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla requesting him to remove Tharoor from the post and appoint any other member chairman of the committee. Dubey had pointed that the matter of suspension of internet services in Jammu and Kashmir was sub-judice and hence shouldn’t be pursued by the committee.

Birla on Tuesday had asked chairmen of all parliamentary committees to ensure rules are strictly followed while holding meetings of the panels. He said as per rules of the lower House for the conduct of committee meetings, the committees do not take those subjects for examination where the issue is pending in the courts.

The Centre disconnected internet services in Jammu and Kashmir when Article 370 was abrogated last year and the state stripped of its special status and statehood.

 

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