The Supreme Court of India seeks a reply from ex Twitter India MD on UPs plea against Karnataka High Court

Share on:

The plea challenges the HC order quashing notice issued to Manish Maheshwari to appear before police in a probe related to a communally sensitive video uploaded on Twitter. The Supreme Court of India issued a notice to former Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari over a plea by the Uttar Pradesh Police that wants him to appear for questioning in a case related to a controversial video of an assault on an elderly man. A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant, and Hima Kohli which agreed to hear the petition of Uttar Pradesh asked senior advocates AM Singhvi and Siddharth Luthra to accept the notice. They appeared for Maheshwari who had filed a caveat against the petition of the Yogi Adityanath government. “Take notice. We have to hear this matter. Yes issue notice,” the CJI remarked during the hearing. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Uttar Pradesh government questioned whether the Karnataka High Court had jurisdiction over a matter related to Uttar Pradesh. “There is 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 41 A notice so there is no question of arrest etc. The question is the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court,” Tushar Mehta submitted before the Supreme Court. Earlier, the state government, which has filed the plea through the Senior Superintendent of Police of Ghaziabad, had on September 8 mentioned its appeal for an urgent hearing. The plea challenges the July 23 order of the Karnataka High Court quashing the notice issued to Maheshwari to appear before the police and cooperate in the probe related to uploading a communally sensitive video on Twitter. The case in question is related to a video from June, in which a 72-year-old Muslim man, Abdul Samad Saifi, said that he had been abducted in an autorickshaw by several men in Loni town and locked up in a secluded house. Saifi alleged that he was assaulted and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. He also said the assailants cut his beard and made him watch videos of other Muslims being attacked. The Ghaziabad Police, who registered a case against the accused persons based on Saifi’s complaint, claimed that there was no communal angle to the assault. The police added that both Hindus and Muslims were among those who had beaten up the elderly man. Saifi, they said, had been thrashed because an amulet he gave one of the assailants had an adverse effect on them. The police claimed that the tweets and videos on the assault of the man were “an attempt to destroy communal harmony”. The police filed a first information report against Twitter, news website The Wire, and seven others, including journalists Rana Ayyub and Mohammed Zubair, for posts about the assault. The police then asked Maheshwari, who was then the chief of Twitter India, to appear before them on June 24 or face action. The Karnataka High Court has interfered with the summons issued to the then Twitter Managing Director by the Uttar Pradesh Police, the law officer had said. Holding the notice as mala fide, the high court had said the notice under Section 41(A) of the CrPC should be treated as Section 160 of CrPC, allowing the Ghaziabad Police to question Maheshwari through virtual mode, at his office or his residential address in Bengaluru. Section 41 (A) of the CrPC gives power to police to issue a notice to an accused to appear before it when a complaint is filed and if the accused complies with the notice and cooperates, then he is not required to be arrested. Police accused Twitter of not taking cognizance when fake news was spread through Twitter to disturb communal harmony. Maheshwari had filed a petition before Karnataka High Court to challenge the police notice. A single bench of Justice G Narender of the Karnataka High court on July 23 quashed the police notice calling it a tool of harassment. The High Court said that Uttar Pradesh police issued the coercive notice without verifying whether Maheshwari had any control over the contents posted on Twitter.