Delhi High Court issues notice on The New Indian's Editor Arti Tikoo's plea against Twitter for locking her account over tweet on Islamist radicals

  • 03:05 PM, 11 Jan 2022

A Delhi High Court bench of Justice Rekha Palli today issued notice on a petition by founder and Editor of 'The New Indian', Arti Tikoo, against Twitter Inc for blocking access to her Twitter handle @AartiTikoo allegedly "for calling out the actions of Kashmiri Islamists on Twitter for threatening her cousin."

The contents of her tweet according to her plea, were: "My brother @TikooSahil who lives in Srinagar, being openly threatened by jihadi terrorists sitting in Kashmir-India, their handlers in Pakistan, UK, US. Is anyone watching? "Are we sitting ducks waiting to be shot dead by Islamists or will you crackdown on them? @HMOIndia"

Pointing out that Twitter Inc qualifies as 'State' under Article 12 of the Constitution, Tikoo had stated that its action is violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 inasmuch as "it is an impairment of the right to free speech and is arbitrary."

She further stated that there is no legal provision under which content can be edited or modified before transmission suo-motu by an intermediary like Twitter.

She had argued that therefore, "there is no sanction for this action under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the latest Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 made thereunder."

In this backdrop, she prayed for the issuance of a writ of certiorari quashing Twitter's decision locking her out of her Twitter account, apart from the deletion of the tweet in question.

Brief Facts

According to Tikoo's plea, on December 14 at around 12:30 am, her brother Sahil Tikoo participated in a Twitter Space discussion conducted under the aegis and supervision of Twitter, wherein he was "called an 'Indian Agent' alongwith other allegations being levelled against him.

Tikoo stated that "as a Hindu of Kashmiri descent, the manner in which he was targeted by some of the participants of this group was eerily as well as chillingly reminiscent of the manner in which Kashmiri Hindus were singled out and massacred in January 1990."

Following this, Arti put out a tweet dated December 15 at 09:21 am, wherein she put out the tweet in question upon which she was served a notice by the Twitter Admin saying that her aforesaid tweet had "violated the Twitter Rules against Hateful Conduct."

Cause Title: Arti Tikoo v Union of India & Anr