Bengaluru: Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari Thursday asked the Karnataka High Court to quash a notice issued by the Uttar Pradesh police seeking his physical presence in connection with a case and alleged that there seems to be a hidden agenda in summoning him.
The UP police had registered a case against Maheshwari after users of the social media platform uploaded and circulated a “communally sensitive” video.
The Twitter India MD told a single bench of Justice G Narendar through his counsel that the notice under Section 41-A of the CrPC (which speaks of an offence being committed) was “without jurisdiction, without the sanction of law”. He pointed out that the first notice was issued on June 17 under Section 160 of the CrPC.
Maheshwari pointed out that the legal obligation under Section 160 of the CrPC is based upon a person residing at a place located within the territorial jurisdiction of the police station where the crime is registered.
“The IO (investigating officer) was not satisfied because there was a hidden agenda. Then what he (IO) did was, he invoked the powers under Section 41-A of the CrPC, which is not right. The law does not empower him (the IO) to do so. It is an act which has been done without the sanction of law,” he contended.
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh police defended their notice issued to Maheshwari to be present for questioning in an alleged video clip uploaded on the social media platform by users that showed a Muslim man being beaten up.
The police said the notice was issued on Maheshwari since he had called himself the ‘country leader at Twitter’ on various social-media platforms, including LinkedIn.
In written submissions to the Karnataka High Court, the police said since the company data disclosed the names of three directors and none of them resided within India, they issued a notice to the petitioner in representative capacity as he is the managing director of Twitter India.
The Twitter India MD was told to appear before Loni Border police station in Ghaziabad, UP, at 10.30 am on June 24 to assist in the investigation of a case registered for offences punishable under Section 153, 153A, 295A, 505, 120 (b) and 34 of IPC.
In their statement, the police said neither Twitter India nor Twitter Inc cared to follow the new IT Rules, 2021 on establishment of a grievance-redressal mechanism and, hence, the exemption granted under Section 79 of IT Act would not be applicable to the said entities. Therefore, they are liable for prosecution if they did not take steps to remove tweets that promote enmity between different groups and create a sense of fear within a section of society, the police said in their reply.
The UP police also contended that if the petitioner feared arrest, he has legal remedies like seeking an anticipatory bail. His petition before Karnataka high court is devoid of jurisdiction, the police said.