Aadhaar-social media linking case: PIL filed in Delhi HC to curb paid, fake news

BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay allegeds that fake social media accounts are used to propagate "fake and paid news" during elections.


A PIL was on Wednesday moved in the Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Centre to take steps for linking social media accounts with Aadhaar, PAN or voter ID card to weed out fake accounts.

The plea by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay has sought the relief, alleging that fake social media accounts are used to propagate "fake and paid news" during elections.

He has sought directions to the Centre to deactivate the fake social media accounts to prevent the spread of fake and paid news, especially when the model code of conduct is in force.

Aadhaar-social media linking case: PIL filed in Delhi HC to curb paid, fake news

Upadhyay, also a lawyer, has claimed in his plea that amendments need to be made in the Indian Penal Code, Representation of People Act and the Information Technology law to stop publishing or abetting the publication of paid and fake news. He moved the high court after the Supreme Court on 14 October refused to entertain the plea.

(Also read: All Aadhaar-social media linking cases have been transferred to SC: Report)

The apex court, however, had granted him the liberty to approach the high court. On Tuesday, the top court transferred to itself all the cases related to the linkage of social media profiles with Aadhaar and related matters to itself from different High Courts.

Upadhyay's plea has sought a direction to the government to link profiles on social media platforms, including those on Facebook and Twitter, with Aadhaar and also a direction to the Election Commission and the Press Council of India for suitable steps to control fake and paid news.

(Also read: Aadhaar-social media account linking case: UIDAI asks government to make a new law)

The plea has also sought directions to the Centre for taking steps to declare publication of paid news and political advertisements 48 hours before an election as a "corrupt practice" under the Representation of People Act, 1951.
It has claimed that 10 percent of the 3.5 crores Twitter handles were duplicate, which included hundreds in the names of eminent people such as chief ministers and even the president and the prime minister of the country.

The plea claimed that millions of Facebook accounts were bogus, which used real photos of constitutional authorities and were used to promote casteism, communalism and separatism, endangering national integration and were also the root cause of several riots.