Abijit Iyer Mitra, a scholar working currently as a research fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies through suit stated that his twitter account was forcibly suspended by Twitter after his tweet on the Supreme Court granting bail to Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair, who was accused of hurting religious sentiments in a 2018 tweet.
Immediately thereafter, the Plaintiff attempted to avail of his statutory remedy under the Rules by approaching the Appellate authority of the Twitter in their Twitter app thereby seeking urgent action on illegal deletion of his tweet and banning of his account, but to no avail.
Justice Mini Pushkarna of Delhi High Court on Tuesday after taking note of the submissions issued summons to defendants Twitter Inc and listed the matter before joint registrar on December 12 for completion of pleadings.
Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya submitted that Plaintiff ‘s account has been put on a “read only mode” which can be restored as and when the tweet goes and also prayed to file a short response in the matter.
Advocate Raghav Awasthi appearing for plaintiff Abhijit Aiyer Mitra submitted that Twitter Inc has committed gross negligence in discharge of its duties (as provided under the rules) as a social intermediary by non- compliance to the Intermediary Rules, 2021 before taking away the right of the Plaintiff to freely and unrestrainedly communicate with his followers, admirers, well-wishers and most importantly, public at large resulting in reputational professional, economic and social damage to the Plaintiff.
Contrary to the rules framed by the Government by not providing the Plaintiff with the grounds of such an extreme action, the Twitter Inc forced the Plaintiff to comply with its instructions for reinstatement of his account without assignment of any reason, submitted the Plaintiff’s lawyer.
Suit stated that, in the month of July 2022, the Supreme Court granted bail to an incarcerated journalist Mohd. Zubair (Alt-News) accused of hurting religious sentiments of Hindu community with his allegedly incendiary and blasphemous tweet. The bench directed his release immediately upon submitting bail bond amounting to Rs.20,000/- before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House. Pertinently, it came to the knowledge of the Plaintiff that Srinivasan Jain (Journalist, NDTV) had stood surety to Zubair in his bail bond submitted before the CMM court.
There upon, in furtherance of his Right to Free Speech and an equally important Right of the Public to receive and know fair and truthful information, the Plaintiff put out a tweet on dt.23.07.2022 attaching there with an Affidavit and Bail bond (showing Mr Jain as surety) as submitted by Mr. Zubair in the Court, stated in suit.
However, the same had inadvertently got some private information (viz. phone numbers, addresses of the parties) also revealed therein, which the Plaintiff immediately removed upon being intimated by Twitter of the same.
Thereafter, the Plaintiff, with an avowed objective of making the public aware of the said development, tweeted as follows:
“.presiding judges son on NDTV, NDTV editor furnishes bail bond of “”close friend.””.Reposting minus the “private info”. I’m sure twitter will find some way of protecting its resident in-house jihadist his aiders abettors.”
In response thereto, the Twitter.Inc sans any explanation being sought from or any Show Cause Notice served upon the Plaintiff, unilaterally banned his twitter account thereby making it completely inaccessible for the former to engage with his 1.5 lac followers, read the suit. (ANI)