'Tools of Harassment': HC Quashes UP Police Notice to Twitter India MD
The police have been permitted to record the Twitter India MD's statement virtually or at his office or home.
The Karnataka High Court on Friday, 23 July, quashed the notice issued by the Uttar Pradesh Police to Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari in connection with a case involving tweets about the assault of a Muslim man in Loni.
The notice was issued under Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the high court order reportedly said, "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."
The police have been permitted to record Maheshwari's statement virtually or at his office or home, ANI reported.
WHAT ELSE DID THE COURT SAY?
The Karnataka High Court observed: “The invocation of Section 41A (which contains a threat of arrest) was resorted to as an arm-twisting method after Maheshwari did not respond to initial notice under Section 160 CrPC.”
Further, the court, as per Live Law, observed that the material placed on record “demonstrates that the entity Twitter India is an independent entity and shareholding partner and control of the affairs of the company is in hands of Twitter Ireland.”
“The information available cannot be said to be indicating that petitioner controlling the contents of the social media platforms run by Twitter Inc,” the high court added.
Maheshwari has not been arraigned an accused in the Ghaziabad FIR, the court further noted.
Finally, the court rejected the objection raised by the UP Police against the maintainability of the plea due to lack of territorial jurisdiction.
The Uttar Pradesh Police, on 17 June, had sent a legal notice to Twitter India's Managing Director Maheshwari, for provoking communal disharmony owing to posts on the microblogging platform that were made in connection with the alleged assault on a Muslim man in the state's Loni district, earlier in June.
A video of the violent incident had gone viral on social media, and appeared to depict a hate crime against an elderly Muslim man.
The police, however, alleged subsequently that the incident had wrongfully been given a communal colour.
Maheshwari was asked to come to the police station at Loni Border and record the statement within one week.
The Twitter official had previously indicated his availability for the police interrogation via video-conference – a plea that had been rejected by the police, who asked him to appear at the police station in person.
(With inputs from LiveLaw and ANI.)
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