New Delhi: While dues worth crores of rupees are pending against sitting and former Members of Parliament in telephone bills, their phones cannot be disconnected in the normal process as they enjoy "some immunity", according to the MTNL.
In an RTI reply, the phone company said the decision to disconnect the phones of MPs can only be taken by the Head of Circle and "not by a subordinate officer".
"The head of circle shall himself write a polite letter to the concerned MP inviting his attention to the unpaid bills and giving him reasonable opportunity to clear the dues.
"A decision about the extreme step of disconnection shall be taken only by the Head of the circle/telecom district and not by any subordinate officer," an MTNL official told activist Subhash Agrawal in an RTI reply.
Agrawal had sought to know detailed information on rules about pending payment of dues against the former and sitting MPs.
In a previous reply, the Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Limited had said that more than Rs 7.30 crore had been pending as telephone bill dues against 405 former and present MPs.
According to the information, 399 former and six sitting Parliamentarians owe Rs 7,30,66,746 to MTNL. The list also included the name of 67 MPs who have died.
The MTNL said it was filing its up-to-date responses in the Delhi High Court in response to a public interest litigation filed by NGO Krishak Bharat against Union of India regarding recovery of outstanding dues on MPs.