In a relief for Facebook India’s vice president Ajit Mohan, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (September 23) ordered Delhi assembly’s peace committee not to take coercive action against the social media giant’s top executive in India.
According to NDTV, The Supreme Court also issued notice to the Delhi Assembly secretary, the centre, the secretary-general of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, and the Delhi Police on a plea by Mohan, who asked the Apex Court to stop the Delhi Assembly from summoning him.
Senior advocate Harish Salve representing the Facebook India chief told the Supreme Court, “The summon is a brazen violation of my fundamental rights. I am not a public servant, whose statement is required. I am an American company.”
Meanwhile, the Delhi assembly’s peace committee, which is looking into alleged misapplication of Facebook’s anti-hate speech rules during the February Delhi riots has deferred its meeting.
Lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Delhi assembly’s peace committee, told the court that no coercive steps were intended by Delhi Assembly against Facebook.
On Sunday, the Delhi Assembly panel on peace and harmony served a fresh notice to Mohan to appear before it on September 23, after no representative from the social-media company appeared before the committee earlier to clarify allegations of “deliberate inaction on the part of (the) social media platform to apply hate speech rules”.
Earlier in the month, the panel had issued the first notice to Facebook India head and sought his presence before it. The plea questioning the notice said, “Whether the privileges of Respondent No. 1, the Legislative Assembly of the NCT of Delhi, include the power to compel the appearance of non-members before Respondent No. 1 to express their views or subject them to examination?”
The plea said on September 2, 2020, at the request of the Parliamentary Committee, Mohan appeared before the Parliamentary Committee and offered his views.
The hearing by the Assembly panel started in the backdrop of a Wall Street Journal report that claimed that a senior Facebook India policy executive had intervened in internal communication to stop a permanent ban on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker from Telangana after he allegedly shared communally-charged posts on the social media platform.