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Supreme Court Directs Delhi Assembly Panel to Withhold Coercive Action Against Facebook Until October 15


The Supreme Court Wednesday directed a Delhi Legislative Assembly panel not to take coercive action against Facebook India VP and MD Ajit Mohan till October 15 in connection with a summon asking him to depose before it with regard to north east Delhi riots.

The panel is probing the social media firm’s role in spread of alleged hate speech. A bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Aniruddha Bose, and Krishna Murari issued notices to the secretary of the Legislative Assembly, the ministries of Law and Justice, Home Affairs, Electronics and IT, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, represented by the Secretary General, and Delhi Police, asking them to respond to the plea.

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The petitioners had moved the Supreme Court challenging the two summons issued by the respondent, Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others, against them on September 10 and 18, on the grounds that they violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner under Article 19(1)(a) and Article 21, guaranteed under part III of the Indian Constitution, the petition claimed.

The petitioners said that the first summon and second summon issued by the Peace and Harmony Committee of Legislative Assembly, NCT of Delhi and others directed one of the petitioners, the Vice President and Managing Director to appear before the Committee on September 23, 2020.

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The Committee’s insistence on compelling Ajit Mohan to speak, and its categorical threat to his non-appearance as a “breach of privilege of the Committee and [to take] necessary action as deemed fit”, gives rise to a clear and present danger to the fundamental rights and liberties of petitioners in the ultra vires proceedings before the Committee, the petitioners claimed.


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