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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

UP seeks urgent listing of plea in SC against Karnataka HC order quashing notice to Twitter official

The Karnataka High Court had quashed a notice issued to the then Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari seeking his personal appearance as part of the probe into a communally sensitive video uploaded by a user on the microblogging site.

By: PTI | New Delhi |
September 8, 2021 1:40:20 pm
Twitter India executive Manish Maheshwari.

The Uttar Pradesh government Wednesday sought urgent listing of its plea against the Karnataka High Court’s decision to quash a notice issued to the then Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari seeking his personal appearance as part of the probe into a communally sensitive video uploaded by a user on the microblogging site.

“Let us see it. We will give a date,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Aniruddha Bose when Solicitor General Tushar Mehta sought listing of the state government’s plea.

“What is the matter,” the bench asked.

The Karnataka High Court has interfered with the summons issued to the then Twitter Managing Director by Uttar Pradesh police, the law officer said.

Maheshwari was transferred to the US by Twitter in August this year.

The high court had quashed the notice on July 23.

Holding it “mala fide”, the high court had said the notice under Section 41(A) of the CrPC should be treated as Section under 160 of CrPC, allowing Ghaziabad police to question Maheshwari through virtual mode, at his office or his residential address in Bengaluru.

Section 41 (A) of the CrPC gives power to police to issue a notice to an accused to appear before it when a complaint is filed and if the accused complies with the notice and cooperates, then he is not required to be arrested.

Maintaining that the provisions of the statute under Section 41(A) CrPC should not be permitted to become “tools of harassment”, it had said the Ghaziabad police did not place any material which would demonstrate even the prima facie involvement of the petitioner, though the hearing has been going on for the past several days.

“In the background of the fact that section 41(a) notice was issued by mala fide, the writ petition (filed by Maheshwari seeking quashing) is maintainable. Accordingly, the notice under section Annexure A notice shall be read as section 160 of the CrPC,” the high court had said.

“The action of the respondent (Ghaziabad police) trying to invoke section 41(A) of the CrPC gives no doubt in the mind of court that the same has been resorted to as an arm-twisting method as the petitioner refused to heed to the notice under section 160 of the CrPC,” it had observed.

The Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) police had issued a notice under Section 41-A of the CrPC on June 21 asking him to report at the Loni Border police station at 10:30 AM on June 24.

Maheshwari then moved the Karnataka High Court as he lives in Bengaluru in Karnataka. On June 24, the High Court, in an interim order, restrained Ghaziabad police from initiating any coercive action against him.

The Ghaziabad Police on June 15 booked Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India Pvt Ltd (Twitter 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 an elderly man, Abdul Shamad Saifi, alleged that he was thrashed by some young men, who also asked him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ on June five.

According to police, the video was shared to cause communal unrest.

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