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The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking criminal action against Twitter for promoting Khalistan Movement. (Sangeeta Sharma vs UOI)
Without commenting on the merits of the issues raised in the petition, a Division Bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad refused to interfere on the ground that the Petitioner, Sangeeta Sharma, had not made a representation before the Central Government.
"This is a matter of public interest. There is a lot of anti-India activity on Twitter", Advocate Desh Ratan Nigam for the Petitioner said.
"Merely because you say something is in the public interest doesn't mean you don't approach the Government first", the Court remarked.
While Nigam informed that Member of Parliament, Anantkumar Hedge had raised the issue, Court stated that no such issues had been flagged by the Petitioner before the Central Government.
"We don't propose to entertain this petition without (the Petitioner) first making a representation", the Court said.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma also stated that a representation should have been made to the Government authorities before approaching the Court. He added that the process of formulation rules and regulations to govern social media was on.
In view of the above discussion, the Petitioner sought the Court's permission to withdraw the PIL with liberty to make a representation to the Central Government.
The request was allowed by Court and the PIL was withdrawn.
According to the Petitioner, Twitter Communications India was responsible for spreading the Khalistani movement and anti-nationl agenda to public at large.
It was asserted that in the absence of a mechanism to regulate content/news on social media, Twitter platform was being used to call upon “separatists”, which was “creating panic in some sections of the society, challenging the unity, integrity and sovereignty of Union of India”.
The Petitioner claimed that Twitter has “abetted” the act of the separatists by accepting financial gratification and paid advertisements.
Petitioner had thus sought a direction for lodging a case against Twitter Communications India Pvt Ltd and its officials for commission of offences under Section 39 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Sections 107, 121A, 124A, 153A, 153b and Section 34 of Indian Penal Code and Section 66F of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
Direction was also sought for an investigation by the National Investigating Agency against those who are promoting pro-Khalistan messages on Twitter.
Read the Order: