20 Aug 2020: BJP MPs seek Tharoor's removal from parliamentary panel
Two Bharatiya Janata Party parliamentarians have sought the removal of Shashi Tharoor as the chief of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology.
The appeal comes as Tharoor has summoned a representative of Facebook. The two BJP MPs, Nishikant Dubey and Rajyavardhan Rathore, now seek his removal as panel chief since he had not discussed the matter with panel members before issuing summons.
Summons: Tharoor-led panel summons Facebook representative on September 2
The Tharoor-led panel has summoned the representatives of Facebook after reports emerged that the social media platform refused to take down hate speech posted by members of the BJP.
The representatives will appear before the panel on September 2.
Tharoor said the panel would consider a testimony under "safeguarding citizens' rights and prevention of misuse of social/online news media platforms."
Update: Dubey, Rathore write to LS Speaker, seeking Tharoor's removal
Dubey and Rathore—who are both panel members—wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla seeking Tharoor's removal as panel chief.
Rathore accused Tharoor of "flouting rules" saying that the latter discussed the matter with the media instead of discussing it with fellow panel members.
Dubey said the panel chief "does not have the authority to do anything without discussion of the agenda with its members."
Fact: Tharoor pushing Rahul Gandhi's agenda: Dubey
Dubey has also alleged that Tharoor was only pushing the agenda of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Gandhi was among the first to tweet about the report titled 'Facebook's Hate-Speech Rules Collide With Indian Politics' published in The Wall Street Journal.
Quote: Tharoor cannot exercise powers without members' support: Rathore
Rathore, who is also a Union Minister, told ANI, "We are not against a representative of any organization being called, but he (Tharoor), instead of discussing with us, discussed it with the media."
He added, "If we go by the book, Tharoor cannot exercise powers without members' support. Although his explanation is this matter in the public interest should be taken up by us."
Fact: Rathore cited parliamentary procedure against Tharoor
Rathore quoted former Secretary-General of Lok Sabha PDT Acharaya and said that under Rule 276 of the procedure, it was the panel chairperson's privilege to finalize the list of witnesses, but the subject has to be under the consideration of the committee.
Other developments: Tharoor, Dubey moved notices against each other
Earlier, Tharoor had moved a notice for breach of privilege against Dubey, accusing the BJP MP of making "disparaging remarks" against him on social media.
Dubey responded with a notice against Tharoor and Rahul Gandhi, saying the panel chief had "surpassed all limits of decency, ethics and basic tenets of parliamentary procedure." Dubey also said that Gandhi had "spread fake news and hatred."