Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde
Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde
Litigation News

Suspension of Senior Adv Sanjay Hegde's Twitter Account: Issue between Twitter and him, Centre tells Delhi HC

The submission was made in Central Government's counter affidavit in Hegde's petition.

Aditi Singh

In response to Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde’s petition challenging the suspension of his Twitter account, the Central Government has submitted before the Delhi High Court that the issue of suspension was prima facie between Hegde and Twitter.

Stating that the suspension was based on breach of Twitter Rules, Central Government has clarified that it had not directed the suspension of Hegde’s Twitter Account.

In the counter affidavit filed through Standing Counsel Kirtiman Singh, Centre has therefore argued that it is neither a necessary party nor a proper party to the proceedings.

Additionally, Central Government has also submitted as far as Hegde’s prayer for issuance of guidelines under Section 79 (2)(c) read with Section 87 (2)(zg) of the Information Technology Act was concerned, the same was already in place in form of Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011.

It is stated that in terms of the Rule 3 of the said Rules, intermediaries are required to observe due diligence in discharging their duties and shall publish Rules and Regulations, Terms & Conditions, User Agreement, Privacy Policy for access or usage of the intermediaries computer resource by any person.

In view of the above, the Central Government has claimed that Hegde had prima facie failed to plead or place on record any material to show that it had not performed its statutory duties.

In his rejoinder submissions, Hedge has contended that as per the Supreme Court’s decision in Anuradha Bhasin, the freedom of speech and expression through medium of internet is an integral part of Article 19(1)(a) and there was a positive obligation of the State to facilitate the exercise of such rights.

Hedge has further submitted that while the 2011 Rules prescribe conditions as to when an intermediary is to take down or remove the content, the prayer in the petition seeks guidelines/rules proscribing overboard and illegal censorship by an intermediary.

It is stated that even the new draft Rules of 2018, do not cover that aspect.

In absence of such Rules, intermediaries such as Twitter take down content in an arbitrary and opaque manner which has a chilling effect on free speech, Hedge has submitted.

The Rejoinder has bene filed through Advocate Pranjal Kishore.

The Delhi High Court had issued notice in Hegde's plea in Janaury.

The matter would be heard next on February 11.

Read the Counter-affidavit and the Rejoinder:

Counter Affidavit_Sanjay Hegde_UOI.pdf
Final Rejoinder - SRH v Twitter 06022019_watermark (1).pdf
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