Delhi HC orders Sudarshan News, Social-Media platforms to immediately block video accusing Muslim man of woman's forced religious conversion

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Court was hearing a petition filed by one Azmat Ali Khan asking for the removal of news articles and videos that had been posted online by a woman who claimed that he had tried forcefully to convert her to Islam. 

The Delhi High Court on Friday directed Sudarshan News, other news channels, and social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitter to immediately block links to the video accusing a man namely Azmat Ali Khan of forcefully converting a woman to Islam.

While passing the above order, the bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh expressed displeasure with the video and the word “jihadi” having been used in it.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Khan asking for the removal of news articles and videos that had been posted online by the woman he had been romantically involved with for seven years who later claimed that he had tried to convert her to Islam. 

The court noted that the threat to Khan was evident from the comments under the video. “Therefore, the video should immediately be blocked for public viewing”, the single-judge bench said.

Advocate Rajiv Bajaj appearing for Khan stated that on the aforementioned allegations, an FIR had been registered against him by the Delhi Police on April 19 and an investigation is undergoing.  He further contended that the circulation of the videos on online platforms is posing a threat to the investigation as well as Khan's safety. Bajaj also submitted that even AajTak last night held a debate on the issue.

The counsel for News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) submitted that it could take no action on the issue as none of the respondents was its member.

Taking note of the submissions, the court issued notice to the Delhi Police and directed it to place on record the status report of the ongoing investigation on the issue. It also asked the Delhi Police to contact the complainant and intimate her about the present petition.

The court also issued notice to the respondents including, PCI, NBDA, Google, Twitter, Sudarshan News, Odisha Television (OTV), Pittie Media, and Bharat Prakashan.

“Considering that there is a severe threat as is evident from the comments, it is directed that the links which have been set out shall be immediately blocked for public viewing,” the court ordered. Furthermore, the court clarified that the direction is to all the respondents.

The matter is listed for further hearing on May 23, 2023.

Case Title: Azmat Ali Khan v. Union of India & Ors.