Sanjay Hegde moves Delhi HC against suspension of Twitter account, seeks guidelines to curb censorship on social media

  • Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde moved the Delhi High Court on Monday, challenging the suspension of his Twitter account

  • He sought that any censorship on social media is governed by guidelines which are in accordance with the provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution

  • Hegde’s account was suspended on 26 October after he used an image of August Landmesser, a man who refused to offer the Nazi salute to Adolf Hitler

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde moved the Delhi High Court on Monday, challenging the suspension of his Twitter account, Bar and Bench reported.

In his petition, he contended that any censorship on social media should be governed by guidelines which are in accordance with the provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution, including his right to free speech and expression, his right to assembly and his right to form association. He also called the suspension of his account “illegal and arbitrary”.

 Sanjay Hegde moves Delhi HC against suspension of Twitter account, seeks guidelines to curb censorship on social media

File image of Delhi High Court. PTI

In the petition filed by advocate Pranjal Kishore, Hegde submits that the tweets in question do not violate the grounds mentioned by Twitter as a reason for suspension of the senior advocate’s Twitter account.

Hegde’s account was suspended on 26 October after he used an image of August Landmesser, the man whose 1936 photograph showed him refusing to offer the Nazi salute to Adolf Hitler went viral, as it amounted to "hateful imagery" and violated Twitter's terms of use.

After being resumed, his account was suspended again on 28 October when he retweeted CPI(ML) leader Kavita Krishnan’s 2017 post, which quoted a poem written by Gorakh Pandey against death penalty, titled ‘Unko phaansi de do’ (hang them).

On 7 November, two days after Twitter informed him that his account was permanently suspended, Hegde sent a legal notice to the micro-blogging site. He also demanded “a public apology for damaging his reputation".

The notice stated that the tweets did not fall under any of the categories of prohibited posts on the social media platform, which include "violence, abuse/harassment, and hateful conduct”. The notice was also addressed to Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, "seeking the intervention of the ministry in the matter”.

"It is clear from the above that suspension of my Client's Twitter account is arbitrary, illegal and Twitter's own policies," the notice added. Hedge had also given Twitter a period of three days to restore his account and tender an apology, the failure of which would invite legal proceedings.

In response, he was told that his account will not be restored.

In the petition, apart from the restoration of his Twitter account, Hegde has also urged the court to issue guidelines to curb unconstitutional censorship on social media.

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Updated Date: Dec 16, 2019 15:38:36 IST