New Delhi: Ruling out holding any virtual sessions, various standing committees of Parliament are likely to resume their regular meetings from July.
The standing committees have not been holding their sittings due to the severe second wave of COVID-19.
Sources informed that with most of the Members of Parliament, senior officials and support staff now vaccinated and active cases of COVID-19 coming down, these meetings can now likely resume from July.
This comes even as the Congress and some other opposition parties had urged the secretariats – both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – to hold these meetings virtually.
However, the suggestion to hold virtual meetings has been rejected by both the Houses due to fears that the proceedings of the committees could be leaked. The proceedings of these committees are confidential and can’t be shared in the public domain without proper consent, sources pointed out.
“There is no provision of virtual parliamentary standing committee meeting. It was declined by both the secretariats when few members asked to convene these meetings. These meetings are confidential and there are chances of leaking the video of these meetings,” added the source.
A senior minister, when asked about holding these meetings virtually opined, “There should be no virtual meet. These are most confidential meetings and many are related to the security of the nation.”
Sources stated that it has already been communicated to the members that virtual meetings are not possible due to the confidentiality and the sensitive character of these meetings.
“The members of these committees need to travel to come for sittings called. They are of various ages. It would be criminal to put them at such a risk till the COVID-19 situation subsided. So, a decision was taken to not hold these meetings,” sources stated.
The parliamentary standing committees debate and issue suggestions on various issues and legislation brought before it.
Meanwhile, Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh took to Twitter to request the convening of parliamentary standing committee meetings virtually. “Mr. Prime Minister sir, @narendramodi. Since you seem to be in one of those rarest of rare moods — of listening to the Opposition. Please do agree to have online meetings of Parliamentary Standing Committees. Please make Digital India a reality!” he tweeted.