‘Switch to Instagram’: Delhi HC denies urgent hearing to Sanjay Hegde’s plea against suspension of Twitter account

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Updated: August 23, 2021 3:22 PM

In December 2019, Sanjay Hegde moved the high court challenging the permanent suspension of his Twitter account from November 5, 2019.

In December 2019, Sanjay Hegde moved the high court challenging the permanent suspension of his Twitter account from November 5, 2019.

The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to entertain an application for early hearing moved by advocate Sanjay Hegde in plea against suspension of his Twitter account, saying that it has more important matters to hear in the day. 

To the submission made by Hegde’s counsel that the advocate’s Twitter account remains suspended for the past two years, Justice Rekha Palli said, “It is not urgent, your client can do without Twitter.”

“We have more important matters today. None of us are on Twitter, he can switch to Instagram or any other platform,” Justice Palli was quoted by Live Law as saying.

Last month, Twitter had told the court that it does not impart public function and “serving the ends of freedom of speech and expression” was only incidental to its contractual relationship with the users.

In a note submit to the high court in connection with the suspension of Hegde’s account, the microblogging site said that “services on the Twitter platform is a contractual relationship” and “in its commercial venture, that it incidentally also serves the ends of freedom of speech and expression would not convert the nature of the activity”.

In December 2019, Hegde moved the high court challenging the permanent suspension of his account –“@sanjayuvacha”, from November 5, 2019 for allegedly re-tweeting two posts. The senior advocate, in his plea, alleged that the move was “arbitrary”, illegal as contrary to Twitter’s rules.

One of the posts was that of Kavita Krishnan, secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association and member of CPI(ML) politburo who had shared Gorakh Pandey’s poem “Unko phaansi de do” in 2019. Hegde had re-tweeted the post with the caption “Hang Him”, an English translation of the poem’s title, the plea read.

The second post was a picture of August Landmesser which Hegde was using as his profile header/ cover photo for over a year.

Twitter responded by claiming that Hegde’s petition was not maintainable. In its note, Twitter contended that suspension of Hegde’s Twitter account was a contractual dispute and there was no positive obligation on it to provide its service.

The US-based firm stated that its services are covered by the Information Technology Act which has a mechanism grievance redressal mechanism.

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