Sanjay Hegde serves legal notice to Twitter demanding restoration of account, public apology

  • Twitter suspended the account of Sanjay Hegde twice for allegedly violating its terms of service

  • The first instance was on 26 October for posting 'hateful imagery' when Hegde shared a picture of German worker Augus Landmesser, who is seen refusing to do the Nazi salute at a rally

  • The second was on 27 October, after the suspension of his account was briefly lifted

Senior advocate Sanjay Hegde on Thursday sent a legal notice to Twitter demanding that the social media platform restore his account and "provide a public apology for damaging his reputation".

Reportedly, the notice was set by advocate Pranjal Kishore on behalf of Hegde and is also addressed to Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, "seeking the intervention of the ministry in the matter."

Twitter suspended his account twice for allegedly violating its terms of service. The first instance was on 26 October for posting "hateful imagery" when Hegde shared a picture of German worker Augus Landmesser, who is seen refusing to do the Nazi salute at a rally.

 Sanjay Hegde serves legal notice to Twitter demanding restoration of account, public apology

Representational Image. Reuters

The second was on 27 October, after the suspension of his account was briefly lifted. It was suspended again when the advocate had tweeted a poem titled 'Hang him' by poet Gorakh Pandey, Bar and Bench reported.

However, the notice said that Hegde "failed to understand" why Twitter had taken such a step as the post on 27 October was "only quote-tweeted" by him.

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."

"It is clear from the above that suspension of my Client's Twitter account is arbitrary, illegal and Twitter's own policies. The same is also an infringement to my client's right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution. The Honourable Supreme Court of India has repeatedly held that even private bodies that discharge a public function to the constitution scrutiny," the notice added.

Hedge also gave Twitter a period of three days from Thursday to comply with the demands, failing which he will initiate legal proceedings, including criminal defamation.

Twitter has been at the target of citizens' ire after the suspension of Hegde's account, with activists and journalists accusing the social media giant of conducting its action based on a biased against leaders from marginalised communities.

Many users, including former IAS officer Kannan Gopinathan, who quit the civil service over the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, have advocated switching over to 'Mastodon', which is reportedly a free open source platform.

On Thursday, Twitter India released a statement in the form of a long thread to address the ongoing discussion of its rules and policy affecting Indian minority users on the platform. The thread tried to assure that the site is committed to inclusion and diversity as it is fundamental to the effectiveness of its service.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Nov 07, 2019 21:48:14 IST