The clash between the ruling party and Twitter seems to run a bit longer than expected. The Uttar Pradesh Police issued a notice to Twitter CEO Manish Maheshwari in connection with a FIR filed over footage released on the microblogging site depicting the assault of a Muslim man in Ghaziabad. The Karnataka High Court has dismissed the notice. The high court has given the UP Police Department permission to record his statement in virtual mode or by visiting his workplace or residence as under section 41A, challenged by Manish Maheshwari.
According to the High Court, the UP Police issued the coercive notice without first determining if Manish Maheshwari, the CEO of Twitter Communications India Private Ltd (TCIPL), had any influence over the material posted on Twitter.
“It is not only the failure of the police to obtain information available in the public domain, but the ominous silence maintained regarding merits of the matter and any attempt to coax the court on the subject of territorial jurisdiction alone,” the court observed.
Justice Narendra observed that the invoking of Section 41A was “arm-twisting” when it had not submitted evidence to show that Maheswari was capable and had control over the content on the platform. “Provisions of the law cannot be permitted to become tools of harassment. In this case, the UP Police has not even placed an iota of material indicated that warrants notice under Section 41A,” Justice Narendra said.
Maheswari claimed that Twitter India was separate from Twitter and that he has no hands in it. In June, both Twitter India and Twitter were investigated for distributing the video on the site. . He had contested the summons to appear before the police, claiming that he was a native of Bengaluru, which was outside the UP Police’s domain, and hence the summons was illegal. On June 24, Maheshwari was granted temporary relief after the UP Police were instructed not to take coercive action against him.