HC quashes UP Police notice in Twitter case, says amounts to ‘arm-twisting'
- The Uttar Pradesh police sought Maheshwari’s personal appearance as part of its investigation over a video which the Uttar Pradesh police alleged was shared on Twitter and social media with the aim of creating communal disharmony.
The Karnataka high court on Friday quashed the notice issued by the Uttar Pradesh police to Twitter India managing director Manish Maheshwari and said that the notice was malafide. The court allowed the Ghaziabad police to question Maheshwari through virtual mode either in his office or at his residential address in Bengaluru.
The single bench of Justice G Narendar said the notice under Section 41(A) CrPC should be treated as Section under 160 of CrPC. The Uttar Pradesh police sought Maheshwari’s personal appearance as part of its investigation over a video which the Uttar Pradesh police alleged was shared with the aim of creating communal disharmony.
Justice Narendar said that the Ghaziabad police did not place any material which would demonstrate even the prima facie involvement of the petitioner. The court also maintained that the provisions of the statute under Section 41(A) CrPC should not be permitted to turn into ‘tools of harassment’.
“In the background of the fact that section 41(a) notice was issued by malafide, 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 court 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,” the court further added according to news agency PTI.
Ghaziabad Police issued a notice under Section 41-A of the CrPC on June 21 asking the Twitter India MD to report at the Loni Border police station on June 24. Maheshwari moved the Karnataka high court which, on June 24, restrained the Ghaziabad Police from initiating any coercive actions against Maheshwari. Justice Narendra said that police can examine Maheshwari in virtual mode.
Ghaziabad police also booked Twitter Inc, Twitter Communications India Pvt. Ltd.(Twitter India), news website The Wire, journalists Mohammed Zubair and Rana Ayyub, along with Congress leaders Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani, Shama Mohamed and writer Saba Naqvi over the circulation of the video where an elderly person was thrashed by five youths and was forced to chant slogans earlier in June. Police say that the video was shared with the aim of creating communal unrest.