The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Peace and Harmony Committee of the Delhi Assembly on a petition challenging the summons of Facebook vice-president Ajit Mohan in the Delhi riot case and adjourned the hearing till October 15.
A division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Anirudh Bose and Justice Krishna Murari after hearing the arguments of senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for Ajit Mohan and senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi appearing for Raghav Chaddha, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Committee Issued notice to the committee. Salve argued that asking a private person to appear before the committee of the assembly and threaten to punish him is a violation of fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court has asked Facebook India MD Ajit Mohan to file a reply in the Delhi Assembly notice case within a week. The court has also given the defendant one week to file a counter affidavit.
Manu Singhvi argued that Mohan was not called by the committee as an accused, but rather he was invited with the intention of developing a mechanism to curb the misuse of Facebook. He also said that the proposed meeting of the committee has been cancelled in view of the hearing in the apex court. He said that no punitive action will be taken against Mohan.
Subsequently, the court fixed the date of October 15 for hearing the case, addition that no meeting of the committee would be held until the settlement of Mohan’s petition.
Earlier, Salve had said that Mohan is an employee of a US-based company (Facebook) and does not want to speak on India’s politically sensitive issue. He said that freedom of expression is the basis of the constitution, it means that the citizen has the right to speak and also to be silent.
The petitioner has challenged the summons order issued on 10 and 18 September by the committee of Delhi Legislative Assembly.
By Priya Kumari