Communal Hashtags on Twitter during Tabligi Jamat crisis
Communal Hashtags on Twitter during Tabligi Jamat crisis
Litigation News

How can we stop communal hashtags on social media? Supreme Court asks; Petitioner directed to approach Telangana High Court

The Supreme Court made the comment while dealing with a plea against the hashtags trending on social media platforms in the wake of Nizamuddin Markaz gathering.

Debayan Roy

While hearing a plea against "communal hashtags" trending on social media platforms in the wake of Nizamuddin Markaz gathering, the Supreme Court today queried after how it would be practically possible for the Court to stop the same.

Telangana-based lawyer, Khaja Aijazuddin had filed a PIL against hashtags trending on Twitter communalising the Tablighi Jamaat meeting in Delhi's Nizamuddin, which demonise and accuse the entire Muslim community of having deliberately spread COVID-19 across the country.

On perusing the submissions, CJI SA Bobde today queried, "how can the courts stop this?"

"How can the court stop this. You are saying people are saying wrong things on twitter but this is like saying people are saying wrong things on phone. How can we direct MTNL?"
said CJI Bobde.

The petitioner had contended that hashtags such as #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, #Coronajihad, #Nizamuddinidiots, #TablighiJamatVirus, etc, are "attaching the religion to the pandemic disease which is contrary to the Guidelines or advisory Dated 18.03.2020 issued by the World Health Organization".

The petitioner today clarified that he was not seeking to stop anything, but rather that he was requesting for a direction that the social media platforms drop hashtags that can be inflammatory in nature.

The petitioner stated that such hashtags were contrary to the laws prevailing in India, and that the same should attract penal laws for manifestly insulting religion, hurting the feelings of a community and disturbing the communal harmony of the country.

However, the court disposed off the matter by asking the petitioner to approach the Telangana High Court for specific relief instead.

Read the order:

Communal Hashtag Order.pdf
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