Abhijit Iyer Mitra moves Delhi HC against Twitter account ban for tweet on Mohammed Zubair’s bail order

Researcher Abhijit Iyer Mitra has moved the Delhi High Court against Twitter for banning his account after his tweet on the Supreme Court granting bail to Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair, who was accused of hurting religious sentiments in a 2018 tweet.

The matter is listed before a single-judge bench of Justice Mini Pushkarna on Tuesday.

Currently working as a research fellow at Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, a Delhi-based think-tank, Mitra has said that after Zubair was granted bail in July by the apex court, he learnt that a journalist working with a popular television news channel had “stood surety” and furnished Zubair’s bail bond before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Patiala House Courts.

He claims that while exercising his “right to free speech and right of the public to receive and know fair and truthful information”, on July 23 he tweeted that the TV journalist had furnished Zubair’s bail bond, attaching the copy of the affidavit and bail bond along with the tweet. The tweet contained private information, including phone numbers and addresses of parties that Mitra removed after he was intimated of the same by Twitter.

Pursuant to this, he posted another tweet which read, “presiding judges son on (TV channel’s name), (TV channel’s name) editor furnishes bail bond of ‘close friend’”. The tweet further read, “Reposting minus the “private info”. I’m sure twitter will find some way of protecting its resident in-house jihadist his aiders abettors.” Mitra claims that Twitter thereafter, without any explanation or without issuing any show cause notice to him, “unilaterally banned his twitter account thereby making it completely inaccessible” for him to engage with his 1.5 lakh followers.

Mitra says that he approached Twitter’s appellate authority under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 framed under the Information Technology Act, 2000 which is binding on the platform seeking “urgent action on illegal deletion of his tweet and banning of his account”. Mitra also alleges that contrary to the IT Rules, Twitter forced him to comply with its instructions for the reinstatement of his account without assigning any reasons for its action.

He says that pursuant to the dismissal of his appeal, he was locked out of his Twitter account subject to the deletion of the tweet. He said that the platform also notified him that the deletion of the tweet amounts to his acceptance of violation of the platform’s guidelines. “In other words, in one breath, the plaintiff was forced to delete the tweet and pronounced immediately guilty by forced expulsion from Twitter contrary to the procedure prescribed,” he alleges.

Mitra has sought that Twitter be directed to reinstate his account as well as the deleted tweet and a declaration that the deletion of his tweet and suspension of his account was in violation of the provisions of the IT Rules 2021. He has further sought direction to the Centre to take action against Twitter for suspending his account without following the procedure established by law.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button