The Karnataka High Court (HC) has now restrained the UP police from taking any coercive action against Twitter MD Manish Maheshwari. Last week, the Uttar Pradesh Police filed an FIR against Twitter & 8 others for spreading misinformation. Later, it issued two notices to Mr. Maheshwari to appear at the Loni Border Police Station and give his statement regarding the case. However, it has allowed the UP police to examine him virtually, it it desires to do so.
On June 17, the Police issued a notice under Section 160 of the Cr.P.C and asked Maheshwari to appear before it. Later, the UP Police issued another notice, under Section 41A of the Cr.P.C, threatening action if he failed to appear at the Loni Border Police Station.
Following the notice, Maheshwari had filed a writ petition before the HC challenging it under Article 226 of the Constitution of India. A single judge bench of Justice G Narender passed an interim order.
Senior Advocate CV Nagesh appeared on behalf of Manish Maheshwari, as reported by LiveLaw. He submitted that being a mere employee of Twitter Communications India Pvt. Ltd., he had no role to play in the circulation of the videos. He further submitted that the petitioner is not a member of a board of directors of the company and was only the revenue head looking after advertisement sales.
The petitioner further contended that the UP Police had first served summons under Section 160, to which he responded and said that he is not in a position to travel from Bengaluru to Ghaziabad. Hence, he requested to be examined online. However, the UP police issued another notice under Section 41A, threatening to take action if he didn’t appear before it within 7 days.
In return, the respondent objected to the maintainability of the writ petition citing lack of territorial jurisdiction. Adv. Prasanna Kumar submitted that mere serving of notice at a place won’t confer jurisdiction for the purpose of Article 226(2) of the Constitution. He also said that the police served the notice under Section 41A after it investigated further into the case, between June 18 and 21.
The court said that the question of maintainability can be decided later. Since the petitioner is apprehending arrest in Bengaluru, it needs to consider the question of interim relief. The court further said that the respondent must at least prima facie show that he is responsible for the material posted.
Granting an interim relief to the petitioner against any coercive action, the court also asked the respondent to furnish relevant information on the next date of hearing- June 28th.