Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Journalist Aarti Tikoo's Plea Challenging Twitter's Decision To Lock Her Account

Nupur Thapliyal
11 Jan 2022 8:03 AM GMT
Delhi High Court Issues Notice On Journalist Aarti Tikoos Plea Challenging Twitters Decision To Lock Her Account
x

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice on the petition filed by Aarti Tikoo, journalist and Founder of 'The New Indian', challenging Twitter Inc's decision to lock her account. It is Tikoo's case that she had posted a tweet for calling out the actions of 'Kashmiri Islamists' on Twitter for threatening her cousin.Justice Rekha Palli sought response of the Centre and Twitter Inc...

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice on the petition filed by Aarti Tikoo, journalist and Founder of 'The New Indian', challenging Twitter Inc's decision to lock her account.

It is Tikoo's case that she had posted a tweet for calling out the actions of 'Kashmiri Islamists' on Twitter for threatening her cousin.

Justice Rekha Palli sought response of the Centre and Twitter Inc while granting three weeks' time for filing counter affidavit in the matter. Further two weeks' time has been granted for filing of the rejoinder.

According to the plea, on December 14, 2021, Tikoo's cousin participated in a Twitter Space discussion wherein he was called an 'Indian Agent' and other allegations were made against him. 

The next day, Tikoo posted: "My brother who lives in Srinagar, being openly threatened by jihadi terrorists sitting in Kashmir-India & their handlers in Pakistan, UK & US. Is anyone watching? Are we sitting ducks waiting to be shot dead by Islamists or will you crackdown on them?"

Following this, Twitter locked her account on the same day.

Advocate Raghav Awasthi appearing for Tikoo apprised the Court that the petitioner is a journalist who has been working in the profession for more than 20 years now. He further told the Court that Tikoo's cousin was threatened on Twitter spaces group.

He also told the Court that the present petition was similar to the petition filed by Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde in the case pertaining to suspension of his Twitter account.

Senior Advocate Arvind Datar who was appearing for Twitter Inc requested the Court to hear the matter along with Sanjay Hegde's petition which is listed for hearing tomorrow.

Hearing the counsels, the Court however made it clear that it was not passing any interim relief at the present stage.

"On interim, Mr. Awasthi, there is no question," Court said.

Awasthi then requested the Court to finally decide the petition on legal points.

"The only thing is, because I'm suspended, I cannot post anything on twitter effectively," Awasthi told the Court while adding that the nature of Tikoo's profession is such that she needs the microblogging site.

Accordingly, while posting the matter on March 30, the Court on the stay application ordered thus:

"Learned counsel for the petitioner does not press the present application at this stage but seeks liberty to file an application if the need so arises after completion of pleadings. Dismissed as not pressed with liberty as prayed for."

Referring to the transcripts of the threats issued to her cousin on Twitter, Tikoo has stated in the petition that Twitter's action of locking her account is violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 inasmuch as it is an impairment of her right to free speech and is arbitrary.

"Furthermore, there is no provision under which content can be edited or modified before transmission suo-motu by an intermediary like the Respondent No.2. In other words, there is no sanction for this action under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the latest the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 made thereunder," the plea adds.

Accordingly, the plea seeks quashing of Twitter's decision of locking her account apart from deletion of the said tweet.

Case Title: Aarti Tikoo v. UOI & Anr. 

Next Story