Abhijit Iyer-Mitra sought restoration of his Twitter account in his plea filed in Delhi HC
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a summons to Twitter in a suit seeking the restoration of journalist Abhijit Iyer-Mitra‘s account, which was suspended following a tweet about bail granted to Alt News’ Mohammed Zubair by the Supreme Court.
After Twitter suspended Research Scholar Abhijit Iyer Mitra’s Twitter handle, he moved to the Delhi Court seeking restoration of his account. Mitra’s tweet was with regard to the bail granted by the Supreme Court to Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair in a criminal case.
Mitra said, “Twitter ‘unilaterally’ banned his account, thereby making it ‘completely inaccessible’ for him to engage with his 1.5 lakh followers on the platform.” Mitra in his plea filed through Advocates Mukesh Sharma, Abhay Chitrvanshi, and Kunal Tiwari has sought a mandatory injunction in his favor, and against Twitter for reinstatement of his Twitter account.
The plea read, “The rules framed by the Union of India would assume primacy over any one-sided unconscionable agreement that might have been entered into between Defendant No.1 and visitors willing to use its platform requiring every unlawful action taken in violation thereof to be reversed. More particularly, the same also runs counter to the spirit of free speech and expression permeating every guideline, law, and policy of India leaving a dangerous Chilling Effect on the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression guaranteed u/Art.19(1) (a) of the Constitution so as to invite action against Defendant No.1 (Twitter) as per law by the Defendant No.2 (Union of India).”
Justice Mini Pushkarna of the Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued a summons to the micro-blogging platform Twitter on Mitra’s lawsuit and granted it time to file its response. During the hearing, Advocates Raghav Awasthi & Mukesh Sharma for Mitra contended that their client is a renowned public figure and in July 2022 he had posted about who took surety of Alt-News Co-founder Mohammad Zubair’s bail bond. It was submitted that merely on this, access to Mitra’s Twitter followers has been curtailed, and added that the same had been done without following the procedure that has been laid down in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya appearing for Twitter contended that Mitra’s account has been kept on ‘read-only mode’ due to one tweet he made in July which is violative. Poovayya stated that if Mitra deletes that particular tweet, his account can come back to normalcy. Poovayya further stated that Mitra’s case is that he will not delete the tweet and seeks restoration of his Twitter account, and for the same, he sought time to file a short affidavit.
Taking note of the submissions, the single-judge bench directed Twitter to file its short affidavit within four weeks, and accordingly, listed the matter before the joint registrar on December 12.
The plea also stated that Twitter committed gross negligence in the performance of its duties (as provided by the rules) as a social intermediary as a result of non-compliance with Rule 3 of the Intermediary Rules, 2021(1) (b) read with Rule 4 (8) prior to removing the right of the Plaintiff’s right to communicate freely and unrestrictedly with his fans, admirers, well-wishers, and most importantly, the public at large, resulting in reputational, professional, economic, and social ramifications to him.
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Jai Ho & Vijai Ho Abhijit !!