Supreme Court Lawyer Sanjay Hegde Moves Court Against Suspension Of Twitter Account
The Twitter Inc. logo is displayed on an Apple Inc. laptop computer. Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Supreme Court Lawyer Sanjay Hegde Moves Court Against Suspension Of Twitter Account

Supreme Court Lawyer Sanjay Hegde moved the Delhi High Court today against the suspension of his Twitter account citing the Right to Freedom of Speech, drawing the micro-blogging site into a challenge that could have a fall-out on social media companies.

The suspension of the account was arbitrary and illegal and in violation of constitutionally recognised Right to Free Speech, Right to Assembly and Right to Form Association, Hegde, a senior advocate, said in the petition—BloombergQuint has reviewed a copy.

The petition against Twitter raises the “issue of whether large multi-national corporations, discharging a public function by serving millions of users (and making profit out of them), are amenable to constitutional scrutiny for their actions”.

Hegde’s account was permanently suspended on Nov. 5, 2019, and he filed the petition exercising his right under Article 226 of the constitution. The article grants power to the High Court to issue directions to “any person or authority” if it finds that they have violated any of the constitutionally protected fundamental right of a person.

Hegde argues that the use of the word “any person or authority” in Article 226 will also cover private organisations such as Twitter and it should not include only statutory authorities and instrumentalities of the State. The reason being that Twitter also performs public duties and makes profits out of it.

“Twitter members including the Petitioner, use the platform to directly communicate with public representatives and government officials. Officials also provide ‘e-governance services’, including the publication of public policy, press releases, etc,” says the petition.

Hegde also contested that his account was suspended for tweeting a poem by revolutionary poet Gorakh Pandey and a picture where one individual (August Landmesser) had refused to perform the Nazi salute amid a sea of Nazi supporters and in the presence of Adolf Hitler.

Both these incidents are not a violation of the guidelines by Twitter which makes the suspension illegal, argues Hegde.

The petition will come up for hearing in the Delhi High Court tomorrow.

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