India

Facebook India Vice President Ajit Mohan moves to SC against Delhi Assembly panel notice

New Delhi: Going against a notice from the Delhi Assembly’s ‘Peace and Harmony’ committee, Facebook India Vice President Ajit Mohan has moved to Supreme Court of India over the social media platform’s alleged complicity in the violence that struck the national capital in February.

The plea will be heard via video conferencing on Wednesday by a three-member bench of the top court consisting of Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari, while Mohan is to be represented by former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, a report by NDTV said.

In his petition, the Facebook India chief said the Delhi Assembly’s committee could not compel him to appear before it, since the same issue was already before a parliamentary panel.

Calling to appear over allegations of “deliberate inaction on the part of (the) social media platform to apply hate speech rules”, the committee had sent a fresh and “final” summon to Facebook India on Sunday.

Mohan had been asked to appear today; days after Facebook India executives, including Ajit Mohan, snubbed earlier summons.

In a written response Facebook India said they had already appeared before a parliamentary panel on this issue and, therefore, the Delhi Assembly should withdraw its summons.

In his petition, Mohan also pointed out that Delhi Police reported to the centre and not Delhi’s ruling AAP. It is imperative to note that it had last week filed a contentious 17,000-page charge sheet in connection with the violence.

Questioning the AAP over declaring Facebook as a “prima facie guilty” and calling for a supplementary charge sheet, Mohan said the party could not make such statements as it was not a court of law.

The “Peace and Harmony” committee was set up by the Delhi Assembly (where the ruling AAP holds 62 of 70 seats) after riots over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act killed over 50 people and injured hundreds.

The committee’s decision to summon Facebook India was over complaints of “deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content” in India. In response, Facebook has insisted that it applies hate speech rules uniformly and without any consideration to political parties that may be involved.

 

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