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Shashi Tharoor Gives ‘Breach of Privilege’ Notice against BJP MP for ‘Disparaging Remarks’

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File photograph of Congress MP and chief Shashi Tharoor.

Tharoor took objection to Dubey’s remarks on Twitter that “the Chairman of Standing Committee does not have the authority to do anything without discussion of the agenda with its members”.

  • PTI
  • Last Updated: August 19, 2020, 11:32 AM IST

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor, who heads the parliamentary panel on info know-how, has given a discover for breach of privilege against BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, alleging that he made “disparaging remarks” on social media over his choice to summon a panel assembly to debate alleged “misconduct” of Facebook.

In his letter to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, Tharoor took robust objection to Dubey’s remarks on Twitter that “the Chairman of Standing Committee does not have the authority to do anything without discussion of the agenda with its members”.

Tharoor mentioned Dubey accused him of championing his political occasion’s “agenda without authorisation by the Committee and Speaker”.

Dubey’s remarks got here after Tharoor had mentioned on Sunday that the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology want to hear from Facebook a couple of media report on its conduct and what it proposes to do about hate-speech in India.

Anguished over “disparaging” remarks made by Dubey against his choice to name a gathering of the panel, Tharoor mentioned it amounted to breach of privilege of his place as an MP and Chairman of the standing committee.

“The matter pertains to the disparaging remarks made by Dubey on a social media platform regarding my decision to summon a Committee meeting to discuss the alleged misconduct of Facebook and seek clarity on the measures that it intends to undertake to curb the spread of hate speech and fake news,” Tharoor mentioned.

“Nishikant Dubey’s derogatory remarks have not only brought disrepute to my position as a Member of Parliament and Chairman but also to an institution that mirrors the will of the people of our country,” Tharoor alleged within the letter, a duplicate of which was additionally marked to Sunil Kumar Singh, chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Privileges, Lok Sabha.

Tharoor urged Birla to situation mandatory instructions to provoke proceedings against Dubey for “committing a breach of privilege on multiple accounts and contempt of the House”.

“I sincerely hope that stringent action is taken in this matter so that it serves as a deterrent to the occurrence of similar incidents in future and restores public trust in Parliament,” the MP from Thiruvananthapuram mentioned within the letter dated August 18.

Meanwhile, tagging a tweet on a media report in regards to the guidelines and functioning of committees, Dubey on Wednesday tweeted, “In the last 11 years as an MP, I have neither violated any rules nor would I let anyone violate or abuse their power for their parties personal vendetta with agenda.”

Referring to the just lately printed information report within the Wall Street Journal which claimed that Facebook refused to use hate speech guidelines to sure ruling occasion politicians, Tharoor within the letter underlined the intense nature of allegations made against the social media platform and its far-reaching implications on the residents’ Right to Information.

Tharoor mentioned he sought to convene the Committee assembly as half of the traditional course of discussions on “safeguarding citizens’ rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms”.

The matter or agenda of the assembly “not only features on the list of subjects earmarked at the beginning of the year for the Committee’s deliberations but also was finalised by the members of the Committee at our first meeting, and bulletinised with your consent,” the Congress chief mentioned.

Despite this, Tharoor alleged Dubey “insultingly criticised” his choice to take action.

Tharoor alleged that Dubey’s remarks amounted to a three-fold breach of privilege.

“The contemptuous words used by…Dubey have cast aspersions on the intent and integrity with which I fulfil my duties as an elected representative…,” he mentioned.

Such phrases represent unwarranted vilification of the Committee’s title and the style during which it discharges its features, Tharoor alleged.

“His actions have painted an ignominious picture of the revered institution of Parliament by indicating that its functionaries have circumvented the process that they are expected to follow,” he mentioned.

Citing guidelines and procedures of Parliament, Tharoor reiterated that the topic of the assembly had been unanimously authorized by the committee members, Speaker’s and Lok Sabha secretary common’s places of work and thereafter it was positioned in public area via publication within the bulletin.

“Therefore, to claim that the chairman has acted in excess of his authority to convene a meeting on a pre-approved agenda, and has proceeded without seeking the necessary approvals, is tantamount to contempt of the due procedure followed by the House,” Tharoor mentioned.

A Twitter duel had erupted between Dubey and Opposition MPs Tharoor and Mahua Moitra (TMC) over the prospect of the panel searching for views of Facebook on the WSJ report.

In the report printed on Friday, US newspaper Wall Street Journal cited interviews with unnamed Facebook insiders to say that one of its senior India coverage executives intervened in inner communication to cease a everlasting ban on a BJP MLA from Telangana after he allegedly made communally charged posts.

Reacting to the controversy, Facebook on Monday mentioned the corporate’s social media platform prohibits hate speech and content material that incites violence, including these insurance policies are enforced globally with out regard to political affiliation.

“While we know there is more to do, we’re making progress on enforcement and conduct regular audits of our process to ensure fairness and accuracy,” a Facebook spokesperson mentioned.


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