Twitter to Delhi HC: Rahul Gandhi’s tweet removed, account locked

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on August 11, 2021

The social media giant has taken down Gandhi’s post allegedly disclosing details about a minor rape victim’s family

Twitter on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that it has locked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s account and taken down a post allegedly disclosing sensitive details and family photographs of minor gang-rape victim in Delhi cantonment area.

Gandhi’s official account shows no post after August 6 after the company said his tweet violated their policy. The Indian National Congress has since launched a handle “IndiawithRG_INC” with posts declaring that the voice of the “biggest leader of the Opposition” in the country is being suppressed. Rahul has been meeting with the family of the victim and agitating against sexual violence against women.

Before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D. N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, senior advocate Sajan Poovaya, appearing for Twitter, said, “We have removed that tweet. It is against our policy as well.” The company’s response came on a plea filed by social activist Makarand Suresh Mhadekar through advocates Gautam Jha, Pankaj Kumar and Sweta Jha. The petitioners had alleged that Gandhi’s tweets are in violation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act as well as Supreme Court guidelines on the issue. When the Twitter counsel informed the Bench that the tweets have been removed and the account locked, the Chief Justice remarked, “That is very responsible. You have been prompt.”

But the petitioners said that the company should file an affidavit to the effect.

“Why are you saying this? Why will they lie? There is no reason to disbelieve them. They have acted responsibly,” said Chief Justice Patel.

But when Gautam Jha for the petitioners insisted, arguing that the tweet has ramifications, the Bench posted the matter to September 27. “If this is your attitude, we are not issuing notice. File papers and we will see on next date,” said the Court.

The petitioners have also sought directions to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to take appropriate legal action against RahulGandhi. A direction has been additionally sought to the Delhi Police to register an FIR against Gandhi under relevant provisions of the POCSO Act.

‘Account not suspended’

In answer to a separate query by BusinessLine, Twitter clarified that Rahul Gandhi’s account has not been suspended and continues to be in service.

“When any account is suspended, Twitter removes it from global view. We enforce the Twitter Rules judiciously and impartially for everyone on our service. If a tweet is found to be in violation of the Twitter rules and has yet to be deleted by the account holder, we hide it behind a notice and the account remains locked until the tweet is removed or the appeal is successfully processed. We have also taken action on several other tweets that posted the same image and will continue to do so if the content is shared. Our aim is to protect individuals as a result of their information being shared on Twitter and certain types of private information carry higher risks than others and can pose serious safety and security threats,” said Twitter.

It said that information shared by the NCPCR in respect of specific provisions of the POCSO Act provided context and taken into account for the assessment of locking of Gandhi’s account.

Published on August 11, 2021

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