Supreme Court dismisses Facebook plea in Delhi riots case The Apex Court directs Facebook India Head to appear before a Delhi assembly panel that is probing the 2020 riots Tough times of the US social media giants continue in India with the Supreme Court dismissing a plea of Facebook and directing its India Head to appear before a legislative panel probing 2020 communal riots in Delhi....
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Supreme Court dismisses Facebook plea in Delhi riots case
The Apex Court directs Facebook India Head to appear before a Delhi assembly panel that is probing the 2020 riots
Tough times of the US social media giants continue in India with the Supreme Court dismissing a plea of Facebook and directing its India Head to appear before a legislative panel probing 2020 communal riots in Delhi.
A Supreme Court bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy curtly told the Facebook India Head Ajit Mohan to appear before the legislative committee while dismissing his plea expressing about coercive action against him as premature.
"The capital of the country can ill-afford any repetition of the occurrence and thus, the role of Facebook in this context must be looked into by the powers that be. It is in this background that the Assembly sought to constitute a peace and harmony committee – whether it has the legislative competence or not is an aspect we will deal with it under the relevant head. The Assembly being a local legislative and governance body, it cannot be said that their concerns were misconceived or illegitimate," the judgment stated.
The Delhi legislative assembly had constituted a Peace and Harmony Committee to probe the February 2020 communal riots in Delhi. It has asked Facebook's India Head Mohan to appear before the panel to reply to allegations that some Facebook posts created communal distress in Delhi.
Facebook refused to comply taking a plea that law and order is under the jurisdiction of the Central government in Delhi and filed a petition before the Top Court.
"Central Government and the State Government have been unable to see eye to eye on governance issues in Delhi. This has been responsible for a spate of litigation and despite repeated judicial counsel to work in tandem, this endeavour has not been successful," the Court observed and said that Delhi assembly can look into the Delhi riots even though law and order does not fall within the domain of Delhi government.
The long-drawn battle between the State and Central governments over the jurisdiction has often ended up in the courts. Delhi being a Union Territory, Delhi assembly does not enjoy the right to legislate on law and order as, besides the local Delhi Police, land in Delhi is also under the central government. The battles between the two governments ended up casting a shadow over the Committee formed by the assembly to assess peace and harmony in the city-state.
The Apex Court upheld the Delhi assembly's powers to constitute a committee to examine the Delhi Riots of 2020 while ruling that Mohan's plea was premature.
"The assembly admittedly does not have the power to legislate under the issues which fall under the domain of union government. However, objective of peace and harmony go beyond law and order and police," the Top Court said while agreeing with the submission of Delhi assembly that no coercive action has been taken against Mohan and the notice issued to him was to seek his assistance in examining a social problem.