Tuesday, June 15, 2021
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Sanjay Raut approaches court to ask Twitter to take down tweets accusing him of harassing Marathi film producer Swapna Patker

In his complaint, Raut claimed that the Tweets made on him are misleading and could “harm the peace and harmony” of the country.

Maharashtra Shiv Sena MP and leader Sanjay Raut has filed a case in the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court, Mumbai asking Twitter India and Google India to take down the tweets and all other digital materials that carry allegations made by Marathi film producer Swapna Patker against him.

In his complaint, Raut claimed that the tweets made on him are misleading and could “harm the peace and harmony” of the country. Claiming that the Tweets are defamatory and that Patker’s Twitter account should be blocked, Raut added that the allegations can “create disharmony amongst political and community groups in India and especially the state of Maharashtra.”

Raut also urged the Court to issue a directive to all the websites and online platforms which carried the news pertaining to Patker’s allegations on Raut to take down the content within 24 hours of court order.

It is interesting to note that the complaint filed by Raut is under Section 69A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 which deems only the Central government as a competent authority to block content on a digital platform that too only if the sovereignty or public order in the country is under threat. The Act mentioned in the complaint cannot be invoked for a private matter said the preliminary objection filed by the lawyer on behalf of Twitter India.

Advocate Anirudh Ganu representing Twitter Communications India informed OpIndia that both Twitter India and Google India have no control over the content on the platform and that the parent companies would have to be made Party to the complaint to legitimize the proceeding.

Advocate Ganu informed that the complaint reeks of misuse of power by Sanjay Raut who has not followed appropriate procedure and short-circuited the entire legal process to make his case. 

Marathi film producer Swapna Patker, who was accused of making the ‘objectionable tweets’, was not even made a Party to the case. However, Patker has now filed an intervention plea to secure her freedom of speech and expression.

Prima facie, the complaint appears to be a pressure tactic than a legitimate case as the approached Court by the complainant has no authority over such matters, legal experts say.

Diffusing Raut’s claims of her Tweets being misleading and contentious, Patker said she has enough proof and evidence for all the allegations made and is ready to fight it in the Court. 

The complaint by Raut comes after the news of him being involved in a harassment case went viral. Dr Swapna Patker, a renowned psychologist and producer of Marathi film Balkadu (biopic of Shivsena founder and leader Balasaheb Thackeray), in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi has alleged that she is being harassed, tortured and abused by Shiv Sena MP and Editor of Saamana, Sanjay Raut, since the past eight years.

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