Facebook can’t skip Delhi riots panel: Supreme Court
However, the Assembly’s Peace and Harmony committee would have no jurisdiction over issues like law and order of Delhi, which comes under the Central government.
NEW DELHI: Stressing that social media platforms should show accountability towards its users, the Supreme Court on Thursday said the Delhi Assembly can seek information from Facebook and its officials in connection with their alleged role in the 2020 Delhi Riots. However, the Assembly’s Peace and Harmony committee would have no jurisdiction over issues like law and order of Delhi, which comes under the Central government.
“Because of the nature of the riots, the Assembly without transgressing into any field of the Union under 7th Schedule can look into the issue,” a three-judge bench of the court said. Hearing a plea by Facebook India against the summons issued by the committee to its head Ajit Mohan, the bench, while calling it premature, stated he must appear before the committee, but his representative can choose not to answer questions outside of the Assembly’s domain.
The bench said social media platforms like Facebook have the power and potential to influence people across borders, and debates and posts on them have the potential to polarise the society as most people do not have the wherewithal to verify the content.
“The capital can ill-afford any repetition of the occurrence, and thus, the role of Facebook in this context must be looked into by the powers that be. It is in this background that the Assembly sought to constitute a Peace and Harmony committee. It cannot be said that its concerns were misconceived or illegitimate,” the court said in its 188-page judgment.