Facebook row: Shashi Tharoor, Nishikant Dubey seek breach of privilege proceedings against each other

New Delhi: BJP MP Nishikant Dubey has sought breach of privilege proceedings against Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, who is the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, over his remarks on social media to summon a panel meeting to discuss the alleged “misconduct” of Facebook.

Earlier, Tharoor also moved a breach of privilege petition before Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, accusing Dubey of making disparaging remarks on the issue.

He also took strong 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”.

In his application, Dubey stuck to his stand that Tharoor has no powers to summon any entity or organisation before the panel without consulting its members and accused him of using the committee”s platform for politics and to “satisfy the ego” of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who had alleged that BJP and RSS are controlling the social media platform.

He said the agenda of any sitting of the Parliamentary Committee is decided after consultation with all the members of the parliamentary committee.

But, Tharoor never consulted the agenda of summoning Facebook and/or WhatsApp in any of the meetings of the parliamentary committee, the BJP MP, who is a member of the panel, said.

“It is, therefore, a clear case, of breach of privilege by Dr Shashi Tharoor in the capacity of Chairperson of the Departmentally Related Standing Committee on Information Technology,” he said.

He alleged that Tharoor has committed a serious breach of privilege to use the parliamentary committee platform not only to serve his political agenda but also to tarnish BJP and “sensationalise a small incident by misusing his official powers”.

“Tharoor has surpassed all limits of decency, ethics and basic tenets of parliamentary procedure and practice vis-a-vis smooth functioning of parliamentary committee by way of committing a grave breach of privilege, not only in the capacity of an individual honourable Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha but also remaining in the exalted position of Chairperson of the departmentally related Standing Committees, viz, Information Technology,” Dubey said.

Dubey also named Congress leader Rahul Gandhi saying that he has also breached privilege by levelling “unsubstantiated allegations against all the members of Parliament belonging to the BJP”.

Rahul Gandhi by tweeting that BJP and RSS control Facebook and spread fake news to influence the electorate, has levied false and unsubstantiated allegations against all MPs belonging to BJP, Dubey said, adding that the Congress leader has also lowered the dignity of all BJP MPs and infringed upon their parliamentary privileges.

The political slugfest started between the two leaders after Tharoor said that the standing committee would like to hearfrom Facebook officials about its hate speech rules in wake of a report in the Wall Street Journal which claimed that the social media giant refused to apply such rules to certain ruling party politicians in India.

Meanwhile, tagging a tweet on a media report about the rules 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.”

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