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SC issues notice to former Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari in Ghaziabad fake ‘Jai Shree Ram’ hate crime video case

Uttar Pradesh government had challenged an order of the Karnataka high court quashing a notice issued by Uttar Pradesh police to Manish Maheshwari related to the fake hate crime video

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to former Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari in connection with a petition of the Uttar Pradesh government challenging an order of the Karnataka high court quashing a notice issued by Uttar Pradesh police to Maheshwari related to a communally sensitive video.

A bench comprising Chief Justice NV Ramana, Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli which agreed to hear the petition of Uttar Pradesh asked senior advocates AM Singhvi and Siddharth Luthra to accept the notice. They appeared for Maheshwari who had filed a caveat against the petition of the Yogi Adityanath government. “Take notice. We have to hear this matter. Yes issue notice,” the CJI remarked during the hearing.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who appeared for the Uttar Pradesh government questioned whether the Karnataka High Court had jurisdiction over a matter related to Uttar Pradesh. “There is a question of law that needs Your Lordships examination. For the time being, ignore the fact the reason why summon was issued. It was a 41 A notice so there is no question of arrest etc. The question is the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court,” Tushar Mehta submitted before the Supreme Court.   

The case is related to a fake communally sensitive video uploaded on Twitter in June this year. It was claimed that an elderly Muslim man named Abdul Samad Saifi was assaulted in Loni Ghaziabad for refusing to chant Jai Shri Ram. It was alleged that Hindu miscreants had forced him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, and his beard was also chopped-of. The Uttar Pradesh police quickly investigated and clarified that a fake video of a fake incident was being mischievously circulated to create communal hatred, as it was found that Saifi was assaulted by one Parvev Gujjar because a tabeez given by Saifi didn’t work as expected.

But despite clarifications and cautions from police, this fake news went viral in no time. Some Congress-Left friendly journalists willfully spread this misleading and fake news. On June 15, Ghaziabad Police had registered an FIR against The Wire, Alt News cofounder Muhammed Zubair, Rana Ayyub, Salman Nizami, Maskoor Usmani, Sama Mohammad, Saba Naqvi, Twitter Inc and Twitter Communications Pvt Ltd for spreading false news that created communal tension in Uttar Pradesh.

During the investigation of Loni fake ‘hate crime’, Uttar Pradesh police had issued notices to Maheshwari under section Section 41A of the Code of Criminal Procedure to record his statements. Police accused Twitter of not taking cognizance when fake news was spread through Twitter to disturb communal harmony. Maheshwari had filed a petition before Karnataka High Court to challenge the police notice. A single bench of Justice G Narender of the Karnataka High court on July 23 quashed the police notice calling it a tool of harassment. The High Court said that Uttar Pradesh police issued the coercive notice without verifying whether Maheshwari had any control over the contents posted on Twitter.

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