Delhi High Court seeks Twitter's response in plea challenging suspension of user handles

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The Delhi High Court has sought response of social media giant Twitter Inc. in a plea challenging the suspension of a user account with the well known handle "@Bharadwajspeaks" on the ground of violation of Articles 14, 19, 21 in as much as it impairs the 'right to free speech' and is directly arbitrary.

A bench of Justice V Kameshwar Rao also sought response of the Centre on the issue of "out of the blue" suspension of the account with over 2.5 lac followers. The account owned by a Kashmiri Pandit has claimed that on 20th January 2022, she received an email from Twitter stating that her account wherein she posted educational content on various issues of history, literature, politics, archaeology, Indic culture, non-violence, equality. women's rights has been suspended.

Court has also issued notice on a plea which has challenged suspension of a Twitter account user "Suyash Deep Rai" who owns the twitter handle @Suyashdeep. Rai, an engineer by profession has claimed that on three different occasions, he received emails from the social media giant informing him about the suspension of his account.

Advocate Raghav Awasthi for the petitioner(s) informed Court today that Twitter has been arbitrarily suspending accounts "at its own free will" and sought the immediate restoration of the accounts. Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya, appearing for Twitter on the other hand sought time to file a response and urged the Court not to grant interim relief.

Kaul and Rai though the plea(s) filed on behalf of Mukesh Kumar, Advocate have alleged that the suspension of their accounts has no mandate in terms of the Information Technology Act 2000 and the latest Intermediary Guidelines of 2021 and the action is in contradiction to basic principles of natural justice including "Audi alter partem".

"It is so offbeat and bizarre that except the aforementioned email (of January 20th, 2022), the petitioner was not afforded with any opportunity of hearing by the Respondent No. 2 and just on some assumptions, the latter suspended the twitter handle"
- Plea(s) states

"Petitioner along with her research team put a lot of money and time on researching educational content and posted various threads for information and knowledge of general public. Out of the blue, the petitioner received an email from the respondent No.2 regarding the suspension of the Twitter account created by the petitioner," the plea(s) states 

The case will be taken up on March 30 next.

Case Title: Dimple Kaul Vs. UOI & Ors. | Suyash Deep Rao Vs. UOI & Ors.