New Delhi: A petition seeking a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against the Twitter Communications India Pvt Ltd and their representative in India under stringent provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and various offences of Indian Penal Code for allegedly willfully abetting and promoting anti-India tweets in relation to Khalistan movement, was withdrawn from the Court on Wednesday.
A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramoniam Prasad said that it would not entertain the PIL because the petitioner had not made a representation and allow the petitioner to withdraw the plea.
The plea was filed by one Sangeeta Sharma through advocates Desh Ratan Nigam and Awanish Singh.
The petitioner said that Twitter, in order to create a rift in the society, deliberately promoted the prohibited content of the Sikh For Justice and “in the absence of any law to deal with offensive and hatred messages, the platforms like Twitter are knowingly promoting the messages which are against the law of the land”.
The plea stated Twitter needs to explain for circulating and promoting the prohibited content from their company. It sought an NIA inquiry for fair, proper and speedy investigation in the matter.
The plea also sought directions to make a mechanism to check contents and advertisements which are spreading hatred amongst the communities, seditious, instigative, separatist, hate-filled, divisive, against the society at large and against the spirit of Union of India.
“Issues writ of mandamus or any other writ, order or direction to lodge an appropriate case against Twitter Communications India Pvt Ltd and their representative in India in various provision of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, the Indian Penal Code, and the Information Technology Act, 2000,” the plea said.
It also sought to make a law, rules and regulations as per which an action can be initiated against the breaking India messages under the garb of Article 19 of the Constitution of India against the Twitter India and their representatives in India for willfully abetting and promoting anti-India tweets and penalize them and their relevant authorities according to law of the land.
The petition sought directions to the respondent to ensure the development of Indian social media platforms and also to have these apps use servers based in India. It also sought to ensure that the revenue generated from India by the social media platform twitter should be taxed in India and come within Indian Taxation laws.
“Because Twitter assumes that as a platform they are not governed by the Indian Constitution and can operate with impunity and therefore, a law is required to deal with such kind of hatred and divisive messages,” the plea said.
“Twitter and social media companies are profit-making companies and expecting them to have safeguards for making social media safe and secure is important. The logic and algorithms that twitter usage should be shared and vetted by Indian government authorities or competent authority for screening anti-India tweets. The source code needs to be shared with the government,” it added.