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Ghaziabad assault video: Twitter exec doesn’t have to appear at UP police station, no coercive action, directs HC

A single-judge bench granted relief to Manish Maheshwari after the Twitter executive approached the court questioning the legal standing of a notice issued to him on June 21 to appear at the Loni Border police station in Ghaziabad on June 24 for investigation in the case.

By: Express News Service | Bengaluru |
Updated: June 25, 2021 7:31:37 am
Twitter India, UP Police files FIR against Twitter, Twitter map news, Twitter India map, Twitter India MD booked, Bulandshahar Police, India news, Indian expressTwitter India MD Manish Maheshwari. (File)

The Karnataka High Court Thursday directed the Uttar Pradesh Police to not take coercive action against the Managing Director of Twitter India, providing him interim relief from personally appearing at a Ghaziabad police station for questioning over the controversial video of an assault on an elderly man.

A single-judge bench granted relief to Manish Maheshwari after the Twitter executive approached the court questioning the legal standing of a notice issued to him on June 21 to appear at the Loni Border police station in Ghaziabad on June 24 for investigation in the case.

A writ petition filed by the Twitter India official on Wednesday over the UP police notice to him was taken on record by the Karnataka High Court on Thursday.

Justice G Narendar, while posting the case for hearing on June 29, asked the police to collect any information they require from Maheshwari through “virtual mode”. On June 18, the executive had told the UP police that he would be available for answering queries in a virtual format.

Maheshwari has sought the quashing of the UP police notice for personal appearance in Ghaziabad and an interim stay on it.

In his writ petition in the High Court, Maheshwari has questioned the legality of the notice issued to him by the UP police under Section 41-A of the Criminal Procedure Code. He has also argued that he is not a director at Twitter India as defined by the Companies Act 2013 to be summoned for questioning.

“It is relevant to note that a notice under Section 41-A of Cr.P.C. is issued to an accused person. A bare reading of the FIR in Crime No. 502/2021 makes it apparent that the petitioner has not been named as an accused,” says the petition filed by Maheshwari.

The notice has been issued to him “on the erroneous premise” that he is Managing Director of Twitter Communications India Pvt Ltd, says the petition. “The petitioner is employed with TCIPL as its revenue head in charge of advertising sales. As the petitioner is a senior employee of the company, a public designation of “Managing Director” has been provided to the petitioner. However, the said designation is not in terms of Section 2(5a) of the Companies Act, 2013,” the petition argues.

 “When a company is accused an officer of the company cannot be issued with Section 41-A notice. Whenever a company is accused, notice can only be issued under section 160 Cr.P.C,” as done initially by the UP police on June 17, says the petition.

The petition has argued that “issuance of a notice under Section 41-A of Cr.P.C with all the attendant consequences to a representative of a company would be in violation of Article 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India”.

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