The Karnataka High Court today granted relief to Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari from personal appearance before the Ghaziabad Police in connection with a case pertaining to a viral video that was shared on the microblogging platform with a communal angle. Maheshwari had approached the court seeking interim relief from arrest as well as exemption from personal appearance.
Maheshwari had earlier informed the UP police that he is ready to answer questions over video conference but the UP police had refused to accept it.
Pronouncing the verdict, Justice G Narendar said that the notice issued to Maheswari under Section 41A was resorted to as arm-twisting after he did not respond to the initial notice sent to him under Section 160 CrPC.
The Karnataka High Court held that Maheshwari’s petition challenging the notice under Section 41A is maintainable and the notice was issued by malafide as it did not meet pre-conditions.
The HC also quashed the UP Police’s notice. The court noted that the Section 41A notice itself threatens punitive action and deprivation of liberty, which is a fundamental right. “Provisions cannot be permitted to become tools of harassment,” said the Karnataka High Court.
The High Court also noted that Twitter India is an independent entity controlled by Twitter International Company and it has no control over the content on the platform.
Ghaziabad Police had registered a FIR against Twitter and others after a video of an elderly Muslim man was shared on the platform in which he was beaten, asked to shave his beard and was allegedly forced to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. The Uttar Pradesh Police had ruled out a communal angle and questioned Twitter for failing to tag it as manipulated media.