New Delhi: In a major relief for Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari, the Karnataka High Court has granted interim relief by directing Ghaziabad Police not to take any coercive steps against him in a case pertaining to tweets and videos posted on the microblogging platform related to the assault of an elderly man in Loni border area. Maheshwari had approached the Karnataka HC after Ghaziabad Police had issued him a notice to present himself in person and refused his request to make himself available on video call. Maheshwari’s counsel told Karnataka HC that he is just an employee of the organisation and has nothing to do with the offence, plus his client is currently living in Bengaluru. The counsel said that the Supreme Court and High Court have said that a statement can be recorded through video-conferencing but Ghaziabad Police wants his personal presence.Also Read - Rapid Work Underway on How to Make Social Media Accountable: IT Minister Amid Legal Battle With Twitter
In his interim order, the single bench of Justice G Narender said “if the police desire to examine the petitioner (Manish Maheshwari), they may do so by virtual mode.” “If the matter requires consideration, we list it on June 29.In the meanwhile restraining the respondents from initiating any coercive action against the petitioner,” the court maintained. “It is case of petitioner that he has replied to notice under section 160 of CrPC to join through virtual mode. The respondent (Ghaziabad police) taking objection to the request has turned around and issued notice under section 41(A) virtually putting him in shoes of accused,” it observed. Also Read - Twitter India 'Finally' Complies with Centre's New IT Rules Within Deadline
The Twitter India Managing Director, who lives in Bengaluru in Karnataka, was issued notice by the Ghaziabad Police on June 21 and asked to report at its Loni Border police station at 10.30 am on Thursday to get his statement recorded in the case, officials at Ghaziabad said. “He (Maheshwari) is not coming today,” Ghaziabad Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Pathak told PTI. Pathak said the Ghaziabad Police has learnt that the Twitter India MD has given a representation in Karnataka High Court in connection with the case and a decision on that is pending. The Karnataka High Court’s interim orders came after 4 pm. Also Read - Twitter In India Bans Accounts Of Pakistan Embassies In UN, Turkey, Iran And Egypt
The Ghaziabad Police on June 15 booked Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India, news website The Wire, journalists Mohammed Zubair and Rana Ayyub, besides Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani, Shama Mohamed and writer Saba Naqvi. They were booked over the circulation of a video in which the elderly man, Abdul Shamad Saifi, claims he was allegedly thrashed by some young men who also asked him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on June 5. The police said the video was shared to cause communal unrest.
(With inputs from agencies)