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Islamophobic Twitter Posts: Telangana High Court Issues Notice To Union Home Secretary In Contempt Plea For Failure To Initiate Criminal Action

Jagriti Sanghi
15 Jun 2022 1:51 PM GMT
Reliance Placed On A Tweet, It Is Publicity Interest Litigation

The Telangana High Court has issued notice to the Union Home Secretary in a contempt petition filed for alleged willful disobedience of its order directing the Ministry to consider a representation seeking FIR against Twitter and its users, who are spreading communally charged hate messages through the microblogging website.

The petitioner, Khaja Aijazuddin is an Advocate who had filed a PIL seeking a direction to the Respondents and Twitter to stop the illegal trending on the Social Network of Twitter under the name #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, #Coronajihad, #tablighijamat or #islamophobic posts. He had also sought directions to Union Home Secretary to register criminal cases against Twitter and the Social media users for spreading Islamophobic posts or messages hurting or insulting the feelings of the particular community under Indian penal Code and other relevant laws.

The Petitioner had also cited that the advisory of the World Health Organization to curb the spread of pandemic i.e. Covid 19 clearly mandated that the name of any religion should not be attached with the pandemic and it was the duty of State to follow and obey the WHO guidelines. The Islamophobic trending had the possibility of disturbing the communal harmony of the country for which the petitioner sought immediate intervention of the Writ Court.

The High Court at Hyderabad in its order dated 22.04.2021 had directed the Respondent Union Home Secretary to consider the averments made by Petitioner and take appropriate steps as contemplated in law.

'Hate Messages': Telangana High Court Asks Home Ministry To Consider Representation For Registration Of FIR Against Twitter, Users

Thereafter, the Petitioner sent a representation to the Home Ministry for the compliance of the Order. The Union Home Ministry replied that law enforcement agencies regularly monitored the social media platforms against the misuse of the social media platforms and take appropriate action under Section 69A of Information Technology Act to block public access to any malicious content.

Since the Respondent did not take any action in the matter, the petitioner filed the contempt case alleging willful disobedience. Furthermore, the Petitioner says that he did not receive any communication from the Respondent whether the order was complied with or not. The Petitioner contended that non-disclosure of any information amounted to committal of Contempt of Court.

The Bench of Chief Justice Mr. Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy passed an order issuing "NOTICE" to the Union Home Secretary, Ministry of home Affairs, Government of India for filing the Counter and posted the case for hearing on August 24.

Case Title: Khaja Aijazuddin v. Ajay Kumar Bhalla

Click Here To Read/Download Order

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