If Twitter can block Donald Trump, why not user posting against Hindu God: Delhi HC

Updated on Mar 28, 2022 08:20 PM IST
  • The Delhi high court said Twitter was not bothered about sensitivities of people from “other regions” and ethnicities.
A high court was hearing a petition against posts put up on the platform by a user named 'AtheistRepublic'.
A high court was hearing a petition against posts put up on the platform by a user named 'AtheistRepublic'.
By, New Delhi

The Delhi high court on Monday asked microblogging platform Twitter why it could not voluntarily take action against an account that allegedly published objectionable content about a Hindu Goddess, while it could do the same against former United States President Donald Trump. The high court said Twitter was not bothered about sensitivities of people from “other regions” and ethnicities.

A bench, comprising active chief justice Vipin Sanghi and justice Navin Chawla, was hearing a petition against posts put up on the platform by a user named 'AtheistRepublic' on ‘Maa Kaali’. It directed Twitter to explain how it undertook the blocking of accounts while noting that there were instances of certain individuals being blocked on the platform and remarked that had such an incident happened in relation to another religion, the social media platform would have been more careful and sensitive.

According to a LiveLaw report, when the US-based company said that users posted all kinds of content on the platform and could not block all their accounts in the absence of a court, the court said, “If this is the logic, then why have you blocked Mr Trump?”

“It is ultimately boiling down to this that people you feel sensitive about... the content, you will block them. You are not bothered about sensitivities of other people in other regions of the world, of ethnicities. We dare say that if these kinds of things were done in relation to another religion, you would be much more careful, more sensitive,” the bench said.

The court added that prima facie, Twitter's stand that it cannot block accounts was “not entirely correct”.

Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for Twitter, said that it had removed the objectionable content in the present case and an FIR had been registered too.

Government lawyer Harish Vaidyanathan said there was a procedure in place for the blocking of Twitter accounts against whom complaints were received.

The court then asked the government to examine the content in the present case and decide if action for blocking the account was required under the Information Technology Act.

The court further directed Twitter, central government and AtheistRepublic to file their responses to the petitioner and took on record the Twitter user's undertaking that in the meantime, it would not post any similar offending material.

It also asked AtheistRepublic to place on record on an affidavit the details pertaining to its status, location, presence of any place of business and authorised representative in India.

Lawyer for AtheistRepublic said that its account cannot be blocked without being it an opportunity of being heard.

The matter would be heard next on September 6.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Wednesday, August 17, 2022
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