AAP hits out at BJP for supporting Facebook in top court
Facebook India told the Supreme Court on Thursday that it is unwilling to participate in the proceedings before the Delhi legislative assembly’s committee and that the matter was outside the scope of the Committee’s jurisdiction.Updated: Oct 17, 2020, 04:12 IST
The Aam Aadmi Party lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday over the Union government’s decision to back Facebook’s contention in the Supreme Court that the social media company’s representatives must not be made to appear before a Delhi assembly committee.
Facebook India’s vice president and managing director Ajit Mohan has been summoned by the committee on peace and harmony to present the company’s stand on allegations that it acted in politically partisan manner, a controversy that echoes similar political wrangling over social media in other countries.
“Why is the BJP-ruled Central government backing Facebook at the Supreme Court over the matter of summoning Facebook India’s Ajit Mohan by the Delhi legislative assembly committee on peace and harmony? The BJP government is objecting to the investigation of the role of Facebook in instigating Delhi riots? This raises serious questions against the BJP. The BJP should disclose the nexus between them and Facebook,” said AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj during a press conference at the party’s head office in central Delhi.
Facebook India told the Supreme Court on Thursday that it is unwilling to participate in the proceedings before the Delhi legislative assembly’s committee and that the matter was outside the scope of the Committee’s jurisdiction. The central government had said that Delhi assembly’s action in holding such an inquiry is without jurisdiction.
“Public order and police are not under Delhi assembly and their action is without jurisdiction,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was representing the central government, submitted.
The court was hearing a plea by Facebook India and its vice-president and managing director, Ajit Mohan challenging the September 10 and September 18 notices issued by the Committee that sought Mohan’s presence before the panel as part of its inquiry into the Delhi riots.
“The voters of Delhi elected the Aam Aadmi Party to serve them and not be obsessed with social media platforms,” said BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli.
A Facebook spokesperson said that they won’t comment on the issue.
Bhardwaj said that the BJP is objecting to scrutiny into Facebook’s potential role in “instigation” of the Delhi riots in February, which left at least 53 dead and more than 500 injured.
The Committee told the top court on October 6 that Mohan was summoned as a witness and not as an accused – and no coercive action was intended against Facebook India and Mohan – in order to ascertain the social media platform’s views on the question of whether it had contributed in any way to the building up of a situation in Delhi that ended in communal riots in February 2020.
The controversy around Facebook traces back to an article by the Wall Street Jounral on August 14 that cited unnamed company insiders as saying Facebook’s India executives had prevented action against a Telangana BJP leader for his Islamophobic comments. Weeks after the report, the company ordered a permanent ban on the leader, MLA T Raja Singh.