Delhi Assembly questions Facebook’s reservation to comply with summons

It’s nothing compared to what Centre is doing with other platforms, it tells SC.

The Delhi Assembly on Thursday questioned Facebook’s reservation to comply with a summons issued by its Committee “to discuss peace, harmony and democracy” in the aftermath of the riots which rocked the Capital in February last year.

The Assembly said its summons did no harm compared to the ‘draconian’ actions being taken by the Centre against some social media platforms.

“The Delhi Assembly is not doing anything to Facebook compared to what Centre is doing with other platforms which is completely draconian in nature. This is a fanciful case here,” senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, for the Assembly, submitted before a Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul.

The hearing was based on a petition filed by senior Facebook official Ajit Mohan challenging the summons issued to him by the Assembly’s Committee on Peace and Harmony inquiring into the circumstances which led to the riots. He invoked his right to silence and questioned the jurisdiction of the Committee to summon a private person under a threat of breach of privilege action against him.

Mr. Singhvi submitted that the earlier notice issued to Mr. Mohan has been withdrawn by the Committee. A fresh notice has been issued. The court recorded his submission.

On Wednesday, Mr. Singhvi had agreed on instructions to withdraw the earlier notice specifically naming Mr. Mohan. The senior lawyer had said the Committee’s objective was only to have a “senior competent person” to appear and testify before it.

Mr. Singhvi reiterated that there was nothing wrong in the Delhi Legislature conducting an inquiry into violence that rocked Delhi.

“Delhi riots did not take place in Bengaluru or Assam. It took place in Delhi and the Delhi Assembly can’t discuss it? Peace and harmony is not a matter of governance,” Mr. Singhvi submitted.

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