Tharoor’s ‘need tutorials’ jibe as Lekhi-led panel grills Twitter

The panel sought a reply from Twitter as to why Kamra's tweets on Supreme Court were not removed

Shashi Tharoor (L) and Meenakshi Lekhi | PTI File Photos

The questioning of Twitter representatives by a parliamentary panel led by MP Meenakshi Lekhi, over tweets of contempt-accused comedian Kunal Kamra, has now set a fresh war of words. The panel had on Thursday grilled the representatives and sought a reply within a week as to why Kamra’s tweets on the Supreme Court and a judge were not removed.

Shashi Tharoor, the Thiruvananthapuram MP who heads Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, was surprised at the Lekhi-led panel’s questioning of the Twitter officials. He sought to know whether she has taken additional responsibility in this regard.

Related news | Twitter doesn’t remove Kamra’s SC comments, grilled by Parliament panel

“Dear @M_Lekhi, as far as I am aware your Committee was formed for consultations on the Data Protection Bill & its mandate is to report on the statutory provisions continued in the draft Bill. Could you clarify if you have taken on additional responsibilities & on whose authority?” asked Tharoor.

In another tweet, he said: “Seems some people do need “tutorials” on the mandate of special committees formed to discuss specific bills. This JtCmt is to discuss the provisions of a draft data protection bill & report thereon. Parliament has not been informed of an expansion of its mandate beyond this task. (sic)”

His concerns were echoed by colleague and Congress’s Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh, also a member of the said Parliamentary Committee. “I could not attend the meeting today, but had I been there I would have raised this very issue @ShashiTharoor. It is not the first time this has happened,” he said in a tweet.

However, quick was Ms. Lekhi’s response to Mr. Tharoor’s tweet. She pointed out Congress party’s senior advocate Vivek Tankha was present in the committee and had concurred with her. Interestingly, Mr. Tankha reportedly grilled the Twitter representatives the most during Thursday’s meeting.

“Travesty that I have to respond to people who are busy exhibiting their lack of understanding. I refuse to run law tutorials specifically when Sr Advocate from Congress Party Mr Vivek Tankha was present in the committee & has already concurred with me. @ShashiTharoor,” Lekhi hit back at Tharoor.

The issue pertains to the tweets of Kamra on the Supreme Court and one of its judges over the granting of bail to Republic TV anchor Arnab Goswami. Last week, Attorney General KK Venugopal had approved initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against him. However, Kamra had publicly stated he does not intend to retract his tweets or apologise for it.

Meanwhile, Twitter had recently apologised to the parliamentary panel for wrongly showing Ladakh as part of China in its local setting.

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