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Supreme Court issues notice on petition seeking mechanism to check seditious, anti-India content on Twitter

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian has sought the response of the Centre on a plea seeking petition seeking mechanism to check seditious contents and advertisements on Twitter.

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The Supreme Court today has issued notice in a plea seeking a mechanism to check contents and advertisements on Twitter which are seditious, hateful inciting and spreading hatred amongst the communities in India.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice S.A. Bobde, and Justices A.S. Bopanna and V. Ramasubramanian has sought the response of the Centre. 

The petition has been filed by Vinit Goenka, Member of Governing Council of CRIS, Ministry of Railway, contending that “ 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 and therefore, twitter Communications India Pvt Ltd needs to explain for circulating and promoting the prohibited content from their company Twitter.”

The petitioner has further highlighted that at present more than 330 million active users are using Twitter handles and thus by circulating the said content or the similar content either through paid or promoted advertisements and fake handles it has become the root cause of many divisions in society leading to riots, violence, disharmony in the society and challenges the sovereignty and integrity of the Union of India.

The petitioner has also cited examples of Global Terror Groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda and Indian Mujahiddin using Twitter and other social networking platforms to circulate hate speeches because it helps them avoid detection. Moreover the petitioner states that “in India, there have been numerous examples when fake videos and hate messages were circulated through this platform have helped communal strife. Recently, Delhi riots 2020 is the latest example.”

Hence the petitioner has suggested that platforms like Twitter should be asked to change policy and prevent anti India propaganda and the KYC of all social media handles in India must be conducted for making social media safe and accountable and traceable.

The petitioner invokes Article 19 & 20 of the International Covenant of Civil and Personal Life calling upon the State to act to prohibit such kind of hate speeches promoting hatred among communities in India.

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The petitioner has further sought directions to the Union Of India to make law as per which an action can be initiated against those platforms spreading hatred among communities in India under the garb of Article 19 of the Constitution of India and penalize them and their relevant authorities according to law of the land.

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