The Delhi High Court on Thursday said it will hear a plea seeking to link social media accounts, like Facebook and Twitter, with Aadhaar, PAN or voter ID only if no similar matter is pending in the Supreme Court.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar asked the petitioner — BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay — to verify whether a similar issue is being dealt with by the apex court so that there is no overlapping.
The direction to Upadhyay came after the central government told the bench that the top court has transferred to itself all matters pertaining to the linking of social media accounts with Aadhaar.
Upadhyay, also a lawyer, has sought to link social media accounts with Aadhaar, PAN or voter ID to weed out fake accounts that are allegedly used to spread fake or paid news, especially during elections.
He has sought directions to the Centre to deactivate fake social media accounts to prevent the spread of fake and paid news, especially when the model code of conduct is in force.
He has also asked for amendments in the Indian Penal Code, Representation of People Act (RPA) and the Information Technology law to stop publishing or abetting publication of paid and fake news.
He moved the high court after the Supreme Court on October 14 refused to entertain the plea.
The apex court, however, had granted him the liberty to approach the high court.
On October 22, the top court had transferred to itself all cases related to the linkage of social media profiles with Aadhaar and related matters from different high courts.
Upadhyay’s plea has also sought a direction to the Election Commission and the Press Council of India for suitable steps to control fake and paid news.
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 RPA.