The Supreme Court on Thursday quashed the petition filed by Facebook India challenging the summons issued by the “Peace and Harmony” Committee of the Delhi Legislative Assembly in connection with the North East Delhi riots. Facebook India Vice President Ajit Mohan had moved the court last year but the SC bench while refusing his petition argued that Facebook’s role in the riots must be looked through.
“The capital of the country can ill-afford any repetition of the occurrence and thus, the role of Facebook in this context must be looked into by the powers that be. It is in this background that the Assembly sought to constitute a peace and harmony committee – whether it has the legislative competence or not is an aspect we will deal with it under the relevant head. The Assembly being a local legislative and governance body, it cannot be said that their concerns were misconceived or illegitimate,” the judgment read, as reported by Live Law.
The three-judge Supreme Court bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul further rejected Facebook’s argument where the social media giant claimed that they were being drawn into a “political divide” between the Centre and the state. The court in its razor-sharp observation remarked that “Facebook is a platform where such political differences are reflected. They cannot wash their hands off the issue as this is their very business… their role is not as innocuous as they are seeking to contend”.
The bench held the view that the challenge by Mohan asking to quash the summons was “premature” and “preemptive” as nothing much has happened really except being asked to appear. There is no precedent for interfering with an action of assembly at a threshold stage
However, the court did set the non-statutory body in place and told it not to encroach into subjects reserved for the Centre – police and law and order – and said that in case it does so, the representative of FB can choose not to answer. The court was referring to the press conference by Committee Chairman Raghav Chadha, who had stated that in ‘preliminary conclusion’ it was found that Facebook should be treated as a co-accused.
Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Committee on Peace & Harmony has received complaints against officials of Facebook for their alleged deliberate & intentional inaction to contain hateful content in India with respect to scathing revelations made by a report in The Wall Street Journal pic.twitter.com/087DPhd6R2
— Raghav Chadha (@raghav_chadha) August 17, 2020
While the Peace and Harmony Committee was constituted by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), it is interesting to note that former AAP councillor Tahir Hussain is the prime accused in the case.
Reported by TFI, Tahir Hussain had cracked before the Delhi Police’ Special Investigative Team (SIT) and admitted that the Delhi riots were planned and executed by him and other members of his community.
Tahir Hussain also reportedly admitted to having masterminded the entire riots, to teach ‘Hindus a lesson’. Hussain told the police that he wanted to do so using his money and political power. It must be remembered that Tahir Hussain was suspended by the AAP only after his role in orchestrating the riots to specifically target Hindus was revealed.
Read More: Delhi Police’s investigation into anti-CAA riots is exposing one urban-naxal after another
Facebook had a pivotal part in flaring up the violence that engulfed the capital city during the riots and while the Silicon Valley company is only being summoned for questioning, it still has its reservations, suggesting something is amiss.
Leave a Reply