Observing that warfare is “not confined to accession of territory” but extends to “affecting the economies and political stability of enemy country” by “inciting civil unrest”, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday rejected a plea challenging the Indian Army’s policy banning personnel from using certain social media platforms.
A bench of Justice Rahiv Sahai Endlaw and Justice Asha Menon held that the Army’s policy “has not been issued impulsively but is preceded by prolonged study of different aspects and data collated in this regard with particular instances and deliberations at the highest level thereon and has been issued after considering similar bans imposed by other countries, on armed personnel”.
“We may also notice that warfare and inter-country rivalries and animosities today are not confined to accession of territory and destruction of installations and infrastructure of enemy countries but also extend to influencing and affecting the economies and political stability of enemy country including by inciting civil unrest and disturbance and influencing the political will of the citizens of the enemy country. In such a scenario, if the government, after complete assessment, has concluded that permitting use of certain social networking websites by personnel of its defence forces is enabling the enemy countries to gain an edge, the Courts would be loath to interfere,” the court said.
The petitioner, Lieutenant Colonel P K Choudhary, had approached the court seeking its direction to the respondents — the Union of India, Director General of Military Intelligence, and Chief of Army Staff — to withdraw the policy, saying it was violative of his fundamental rights.
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