New Delhi, Sep 30, 2020-
The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a PIL that sought action against social media giant Twitter on the charge of involvement in a conspiracy to promote the Khalistan movement of radical Sikhs.
A Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad declined the petition on the ground that petitioner Sangeeta Gupta had not made a representation to the central government and instead directly approached the court.
“Merely because you say something is in public interest doesn’t mean you don’t approach the government first,” the court said.
When the petitioner’s counsel said that a member of Parliament had raised the issue, the court questioned: “Are you the gentleman’s lawyer? We don’t propose to entertain this petition without you making a representation first to the authority concerned.”
The plea contended that some “promoted handles” on Twitter were used for promoting the agenda for a separate Khalistan.
“… Respondent No 5 (Twitter India) deliberately and knowingly in order to create rift in society deliberately promoted the prohibited content of the Sikhs For Justice.”
“… in the absence of any law to deal with offensive and hate messages, platforms like Twitter are knowingly promoting messages that are against the law of the land and, therefore, the Respondent needs to explain circulation and promotion of prohibited content…,” the plea added.
The plea had sought court directions to the Ministry of Law and Justice, Information Technology Ministry and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to formulate a mechanism to check the content and advertisements promoting anti-national agenda and hatred among communities.
“The brazen attack on the sovereignty and integrity of India on Twitter is to the detriment of citizens as a whole. Hence the present PIL,” the plea said.
The petitioner also sought an NIA inquiry as many users promoting the cause of Khalistan were stationed outside India. (Agency)