Supreme Court
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices on the pleas filed by Facebook, its India Vice President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan and others against the notice issued by the Delhi Legislative Assembly for deposing before it.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, issued notice to the respondents asking them to file their counter affidavit within one week and slated the matter for further hearing on October 15.

The bench, which also comprised Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Krishna Murari recorded that the Committee will not hold a meeting until further orders and directed not to take any coercive step against Facebook and Ajit Mohan till October 15.

Facebook, Mohan, and others had moved the top court against the notices issued by the Delhi Assembly's Peace and Harmony Committee to appear before it on September 23 for its alleged role in the Delhi violence in February.

Senior lawyer Harish Salve, appearing for Facebook, said that his client was asked to appear today.

"It is a serious threat. We have three important points to make. I have the right under Article 19 of the Constitution and in that also, I have the right not to speak. I am an outsider and I am not interfering with your style of work and committee," Salve said.

"Not interfering with legislative duties. This issue is of political overtones. This is a brazen violation of my fundamental rights. I (his client) am not a public servant, whose statement is required and I am an American company," he added.

Salve sought directions that no coercive actions are taken against the company and others.

Senior advocate Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Delhi Assembly's Peace and Harmony Committee, said that there are no coercive step intended by the Delhi Assembly against Facebook.

"Facebook is not summoned as an accused. Facebook is not an accused but it has been misused. How can the misuse of Facebook be minimised," Singhvi said adding that the Committee needed suggestions on how to stop the misuse of the social media platform.

The petitioners had moved the apex court challenging the two summons issued by the respondent, Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them -- on September 10 and 18 -- on the grounds that they violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21, guaranteed under part III of the Indian Constitution.

The petitioners had approached the top court to quash these two summons issued by the Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them.

The Peace and Harmony Committee had recently served a fresh notice for appearance to Facebook India Vice President and Managing Director Ajit Mohan for his presence before the Committee on September 23 in connection with the alleged "intentional omission and deliberate inaction on the part of social media platform" with respect to hate speeches.

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Free Press Journal