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FACTS OF THE CASE

  • In October 2019, Twitter had blocked Hegde’s account stating that it was depicting ‘hateful imagery’.
  • He had posted a picture of August Landmesser wherein he had refused to the Nazi salute at a rally, while everyone around him was doing it.
  • When a massive virtual uproar broke out in his favour, Twitter restored his account the next day and again blocked it when he shared a poem of ‘Hang Him’.
  • Hedge alleged that the poem dealt with the hanging of two peasant revolutionaries in Independent India and he had retweeted the poem which was posted by Kavita Krishnan.
  • Hedge alleged that his posts did not violate any rules of Twitter.
  • In July, Twitter had filed an affidavit claiming that all the users availing the services of this platform have to agree to certain contractual terms and conditions.

SUBMISSIONS MADE BY THE ADVOCATE

  • Advocate Pranjal Kishore, representing the petitioner submitted that Hedge’s Twitter account has been suspended for more than two years now.
  • He had earlier applied for hearing.
  • In that, it was submitted that the continuous suspension of the Petitioner’s account infringes his right to free speech which is guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution.

THE PREVIOUS APPLICATION

  • Hedge had referred to the case of Ajit Mohan and Ors. V. Legislative Assembly, National Capital Territory of Delhi and Ors. in which the Court had held that social media plays an important role in enabling free speech and provides a voice to the voiceless.
  • The Court had also observed that platforms and intermediaries must subserve the principal objective as a valuable tool for public good upholding democratic values.
  • In his application, he had also mentioned that Twitter had blocked several other accounts such as of Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, while the petition was pending.

OBSERVATIONS MADE BY THE COURT

  • The Delhi High Court, while hearing the application for early hearing, held that this matter does not involve any ‘urgency’ and it can be postponed.
  • While Justice Rekha Palli observed that several other matters of greater importance were pending, she said that suspending a Twitter account is not an urgent matter and the petitioner can also carry out his work without a Twitter account. He can simply use any other social media platform.
  • The matter will be next heard on 26 September, 2021.

DO YOU THINK SUSPENSION OF TWITTER ACCOUNT IS AN URGENT MATTER?

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