The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Central Government in a plea seeking removal of hate speeches and fake news that are being circulated on various social media platforms.
Apart from issuing notices to the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Electronic and IT, the Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Hari Shankar has also issued notices to Google, Facebook and Twitter.
Filed by KN Govindacharya, the petition seeks direction to be issued to designated officers of the intermediaries to immediately remove the hate speeches and fake news that are being circulated in light of Delhi riots.
'social media platform cannot become a tool for rioting, even as they claim freedom of speech and expression', the plea states.
The Petitioner submitted that the social media portals have been misusing the idea of free speech and have not been complying with Indian laws.
Further, it is argued that the social media portals have not taken down hateful content as the same is a big source of revenue for them and it's manipulated to evade the taxes.
It was also informed to the court by the Petitioner that the Hyderabad police has registered a criminal case against social media platforms on charges of facilitating the spread of hatred and anti-national content, but the outcome is yet to be seen.
The petition has also highlighted the various problems caused to the general public by circulation of such hateful content. It is mentioned:
'the general public faces hardship like postponement of exams, curbs on public transport, damage to public and private property, violence as well as impact on security of women and children.'
It is highlighted by the Petitioner that the government is supposed to contact a designated officer of intermediaries as per Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009, Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009 and Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguard for Monitoring and Collecting Traffic Data or Information) Rules, 2009.
However, social media companies and the Government have not notified the details of designated officers.
Therefore, the Petitioner has also sought for notifying the aforesaid designated officers as mandated by the Information Technology law.