A division bench of the Telangana High Court on Friday directed the Twitter to file a counter affidavit in the PIL filed seeking removal of Islamophobic posts linking the Covid-19 pandemic to Islam from its site.
The division bench comprised by Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijaysen Reddy has asked the micro-blogging platform Twitter to respond to the notices issued by a Chief Justice led the bench in June asking it to show cause why it had not taken prompt action to remove ‘communal hashtags’ from Twitter.
According to Live Law, notices were issued to Twitter, along with the Central Government and the State Government last month on a PIL filed by Advocate Khaja Aijazuddin seeking restraint on all websites in India from carrying ‘Islamophobic’ posts that have the potential to hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community.
The petitioner sought the removal o f hashtags #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, #Coronajihad, #Tablighijamat, among others, from social media.
The petitioner has also requested the court to direct the state government to register criminal cases against Twitter users who were allegedly spreading such messages.
Though Twitter had failed to enter an appearance, the counter affidavit filed on behalf of DGP, Hyderabad disclosed that Twitter had removed all objectionable content, including communal hashtags, Live Law reported.
Intervening at this stage, the Court remarked that mere removal of the impugned content is ‘not sufficient‘.
The Court also stated that the Petitioner had sought to streamline the issue so as to ensure that online social media networks or sites do not carry such messages, that have the capacity hurt or insult the feelings of any particular community, in the future.
The Court has asked both Twitter as well as the Central Government, to file their Counter Affidavits by the next date of hearing.