Facebook moves Supreme Court challenging Delhi Assembly summons

Facebook moves Supreme Court challenging Delhi Assembly summons

Petition questions jurisdiction of the Delhi Assembly to issue the summons.

Petition questions jurisdiction of the Delhi Assembly to issue the summons.

Facebook has moved the Supreme Court challenging the summons issued by the Committee of Peace and Harmony of the Delhi Legislative Assembly to appear before it in connection with “allegations” linked to the Delhi riots.

The petition has been jointly filed by Ajit Mohan, vice president and managing director of Facebook India Online Services Private Limited; Facebook India Online Services Private Limited; and Facebook, Inc., based in the United States. The respondents are the Legislative Assembly, the NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi, and the Union of India.

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Mr. Mohan and Facebook have challenged the jurisdiction of the Assembly to summon him. The petition said the issue comes within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Union. Mr. Mohan has been summoned to appear before the Committee on September 23.

The petition asked whether the privileges of the Legislative Assembly “include the power to compel the appearance of non-members to express their views or subject them to examination”.

“Whether the constitutional right to free speech and expression includes the right to silence, and whether compelling a person to speak violates the right to free speech and the right to privacy,” the petition asked.

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The petition said a larger Bench of the apex court should hear and decide whether a Committee of the Delhi Assembly can compel testimonies in issues of public order and police, which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Centre under Articles 239 and 239AA(3)(a) of the Constitution.

The petition contended that the Chairman of the Committee had held a press conference announcing that “Facebook should be treated as a co-accused” in the Delhi riots and that there was a “premeditated conspiracy between Facebook, rioters and anti-social elements” shortly before the first summons was issued.

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