Twitter today informed the Delhi High Court that it has blocked the account of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his alleged tweet for disclosing sensitive information about the nine-year-old rape victim of Delhi Cantt and publishing pictures of her parents on his Twitter handle, as the same was in violation of Twitter Policy.
The matter was listed before the bench led by the Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh. Senior Advocate RS Cheema appeared for Mr Gandhi, while Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya appeared for Twitter.
Mr Poovayya submitted that Twitter has removed the alleged tweet by Rahul Gandhi and blocked his account, “as there is an alleged violation of our policy.”
Petitioner Advocate Gautam Jha disputed the fact.
Justice Patel said when the Counsel for respondent no 4 (Twitter) is saying that they have removed the tweet, there is no reason to dispute that.
“If this is the attitude, we will not issue notice,” observed the Court and deferred hearing till September 27. The Bench asked to file short submissions.
The petition, filed by social activist Makarand Sursh Mhadlekar, sought legal action against Respondent No 1 (Rahul Gandhi) by Respondent No 2, 3 (NCPCR, Commissioner of Police and Twitter), for violation of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and Section 23 of the POCSO Act, 2012, by posting pictures of family members of the rape victim. The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was represented by Advocate-on-Record Swarupama Chaturvedi.
The Congress leader’s Twitter account was temporarily suspended by the Twitter. According to a tweet on Congress party’s official handle, due process was being followed for the restoration of the Congress MP’s account.
On August 3, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had issued notice to Twitter India, asking it to take action against the Twitter handle of Wayanad MP. NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo said the child rights body took action after taking cognisance of reports, which said that the Congress leader ‘sabotaged’ the identity of the minor rape victim by posting the photograph of her parents on the microblogging site.
The Commission further said that Wayanad MP had violated the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act by revealing a rape victim’s identity. A Delhi-based lawyer had also filed a complaint in Delhi Police against Mr Gandhi.
A nine-year-old living with her parents in a rented house in Delhi’s Nangloi area was allegedly raped and murdered on August 1. According to her parents, she had gone to get water from a cooler at the crematorium at around 1730 hrs on Sunday.
Around 1800 hrs, crematorium’s priest Radhey Shyam and two-three others called the girl’s mother to the spot. Showing her body to her mother, they claimed that she got electrocuted while getting water from the cooler. There were burn marks between her left wrist and elbow, and her lips were also blue.
The priest and the others dissuaded her mother from making a PCR call, saying police would make a case out of it and during post-mortem, doctors would steal the girl’s organs, so it was better to cremate her. The girl was cremated but subsequently, her parents alleged that it was done without their consent. A crowd of around 200 villagers gathered at the crematorium and the police were informed.