NEW DELHI: The Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee has the power to ‘compel attendance’ by initiating privileges against Facebook officials, according to the Supreme Court judgment on Thursday.
“Members and non-Members (like the petitioners) can equally be directed to appear before the Committee and depose on oath,” said the top court in its order while dismissing the plea of Facebook VP Ajit Mohan against issuance of summon by the panel of the assembly in connection with last year’s riots in Delhi.
However, clarifying on the jurisdiction of the Committee, the Supreme Court added that the “Assembly admittedly does not have any power to legislate on aspects of law and order and police.” It held that the Committee cannot ‘encroach’ into any aspects related to ‘public order’ and ‘police’ and the Facebook officials will have the right ‘to not answer questions’ on these issues.
The SC said that the committee “cannot have a “misconception” that it is some kind of a prosecuting agency which can embark on the path of holding people guilty and direct the filing of supplementary chargesheet against them.” It stated that it was “in the larger context” the concept of peace and harmony goes much beyond law and order, more so in view of on the-ground governance being in the hands of the Delhi government.
‘No need to answer’
The Supreme Court said that any representative of Facebook appearing before the Committee would be well within their right to refuse to answer the query providing some relief to the social media company.