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Congress MPs question Joint Parliamentary Committee’s remit as it grills Twitter over Kamra’s tweets

Parliament
Credit: Aditi Agrawal

A Twitter row over the mandate of the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Personal Data Protection Bill erupted between politicians as news reports trickled out that the BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi-led committee had grilled Twitter for not taking down “obscene” tweets by comedian Kunal Kamra targeting Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde. Lekhi said that the JPC has sought a reply from Twitter over the matter within seven days, PTI reported. She reportedly said that the issue received support across political spectrum in the committee, with support from Congress MP Vivek Tankha, Bahujan Samaj Party MP Ritesh Pandey and Biju Janata Dal MP Bhartruhari Mahtab. This came a day after Twitter apologised to the JPC via a written affidavit for incorrectly geo-tagging Ladakh as a part of China and promised to resolve the issue by November 30. During the November 19 meeting, the JPC heard from companies that had not submitted their post-evidence replies apart from hearing from cybersecurity firm Cyble and payments company PayPal. After the meeting, Lekhi reportedly said that Twitter’s explanation on banning handles and tweets was inadequate. The JPC had asked Twitter India's policy head Mahima Kaul to clarify its policy of blocking and removing users and tweets, the Hindustan Times reported. Twitter told the JPC Kamra's tweet on the CJI cannot be removed without a court order, LiveLaw tweeted. Kamra, against whom Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had consented to initiate criminal contempt proceedings for his tweets critical of the Supreme Court, has meanwhile refused to…

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