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Supreme Court Issues Notice On Uttar Pradesh Govt's Challenge To Karnataka HC Order Quashing Police Summons To Twitter India Head

Srishti Ojha
22 Oct 2021 5:58 AM GMT
Supreme Court Issues Notice On Uttar Pradesh Govts Challenge To Karnataka HC Order Quashing Police Summons To Twitter India Head
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The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice on a petition filed by the State of Uttar Pradesh challenging the Karnataka High Court's judgment which quashed the notice issued by the UP Police to the then Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari in the FIR registered over the videos posted in Twitter showing the assault of a Muslim man in Ghaziabad.A bench comprising the Chief...

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The Supreme Court  on Friday issued notice on a petition filed by the State of Uttar Pradesh challenging the Karnataka High Court's judgment which quashed the notice issued by the UP Police to the then Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari in the FIR registered over the videos posted in Twitter showing the assault of a Muslim man in Ghaziabad.

A bench comprising the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli considered the matter.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the UP Government, submitted that the matter raised questions of law relating to the territorial jurisdiction of a High Court.

"There's a question of law that needs your Lordships examination. For the time being, ignore the fact the reason why summon was issued. It was a 41A notice so there's no question of arrest etc. The question is the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court", the Solicitor General submitted.

Senior Advocates Dr AM Singhvi and Siddharth Luthra were appearing for the respondent on caveat.

The bench asked them to accept notice. "Take notice. We have to hear this matter. Yes issue notice", the CJI said.

The Ghaziabad police had registered an FIR against certain journalists and media houses over the videos posted by them showing the Ghaziabad assault alleging that fake news was being spread about the incident to create communal disharmony.  The police issued summons to the Twitter India MD, located in Bengaluru, in the said FIR, asking him to join investigation. Against the UP Police summons, Maheshwari filed writ petition in the Karnataka High Court.

Terming the UP Police notice under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure against the Twitter India chief a "tool of harassment", a single bench of Justice G Narender of the High Court had quashed the same on July 23 this year.

The High Court said that the UP Police issued the coercive notice without ascertaining if Manish Maheshwari, the MD of Twitter Communications India Private Ltd (TCIPL), had any control over the contents posted in Twitter.

"The provisions of the statute cannot be permitted to become tools of harassment. The respondent has not placed even an iota of material which would prima facie show involvement of the petitioner. In that view of the matter petitioner has made out a case. Section 41A notice is issued by malafide and the petition is maintainable. The Annexure A1 notice is quashed", the order passed by Justice G Narender said. The HC observed that the notice amounted to "arm-twisting" by the UP Police. The Court however granted liberty to the police to examine Maheshwari as a witness through virtual mode.

The High Court had earlier passed an interim order protecting Maheshwari from coercive action. The State of UP had filed another special leave petition against that interim order as well.

In a later development, Twitter transferred Manish Maheshwari from India to the United States of America.




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