Facebook India Head goes to Supreme Court against Delhi Assembly Panel's summons on 'hate speech'

Facebook India head Ajit Mohan moves the Supreme Court against Delhi Assembly committee's summonsUnsplash
  • Facebook India Head Ajit Mohan has filed a petition in the Supreme Court that the Delhi Assembly’s ‘Peace and Harmony’ committee cannot force him to appear before it.
  • According to the petition, Delhi’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) cannot declare Facebook guilty prima facie, since it’s not a court of law.
  • A three-member bench of the top court — consisting of Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose, and Krishna Murari — will hear the plea via video conferencing.
Facebook India’s vice president and managing director, Ajit Mohan, has filed a petition with the Supreme Court against the Delhi Assembly’s ‘Peace and Harmony’ committee.

Mohan had been asked to appear before the committee today. Instead, a three-member bench of the top court — consisting of Justices SK Kaul, Aniruddha Bose and Krishna Murari — will hear the plea via video conferencing.

Mohan is to be represented by former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi.

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Why did Mohan file the Supreme Court petition?
Mohan’s petition asserts that since he is already appearing before the Parliamentary Panel on Information Technology — headed by Congress Member of Parliament (MP) Shashi Tharoor — the committee cannot compel him to appear before it.

In his petition, Mohan questioned the national capital’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was declaring Facebook guilty prima facie — based on the first impression. According to him, the AAP cannot issue such statements since it’s not a court of law.

What are the accusations leveled against Facebook India?
The Peace and Harmony committee asserts that the social networking giant was ‘complicit’ in the north Delhi violence that broke out during the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in February. The incident left over 50 people dead and injured hundreds.

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The committee’s premise is that they have ‘incriminatory material’ that has been produced on the record by witnesses, which can be used to prove that Facebook’s ‘deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content’ in India led to the outbreak.

On Sunday, the committee sent a fresh and ‘final’ summons to the company. “Any rebuttal or disregard to this subsequent notice shall be deemed as a wilful act of breach of privilege and thus, shall entail various proceedings initiated against Facebook India,” it said in a statement.

(With agency inputs)

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