The Supreme Court on Friday issued a notice to former Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari on the Uttar Pradesh Police’s petition against a Karnataka High Court order, Live Law reported.
The High Court had on July 23 quashed a notice issued to Maheshwari by the Ghaziabad Police, asking him to appear before them in connection with a case related to tweets about the assault on an elderly Muslim man in the city in June.
However, the court had allowed the police to record Maheshwari’s statement online.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, on Friday said: “There’s a question of law that needs your Lordships examination. The question is the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court.”
A bench comprising Chief Justice of India NV Ramana and Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli agreed to hear the Uttar Pradesh government’s petition.
The case in question is related to a video from June, in which a 72-year-old Muslim man, Abdul Samad Saifi, said that he had been abducted in an autorickshaw by several men in Loni town and locked up in a secluded house.
Saifi alleged that he was assaulted and forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. He also said the assailants cut his beard and made him watch videos of other Muslims being attacked.
However, the Ghaziabad Police, who registered a case against the accused persons based on Saifi’s complaint, claimed that there was no communal angle to the assault.
The police added that both Hindus and Muslims were among those who had beaten up the elderly man. Saifi, they said, had been thrashed because an amulet he gave one of the assailants had an adverse effect on them.
The police claimed that the tweets and videos on the assault of the man were “an attempt to destroy communal harmony”.
The police filed a first information report against Twitter, news website The Wire and seven others, including journalists Rana Ayyub and Mohammed Zubair, for posts about the assault.
The police then asked Maheshwari, who was then the chief of Twitter India, to appear before them on June 24 or face action.
Maheshwari, who lived in Bengaluru at that time, moved the Karnataka High Court against the legal notice issued to him.
While granting relief to Maheshwari in July, the court had said the police issued the notice without ascertaining whether Maheshwari had any control over the content posted on Twitter. The content is controlled by Twitter Inc, which is based in the United States, and not Twitter India, the court noted.
In August, Twitter had announced a new role for Maheshwari – senior director of revenue strategy and operations. He is now based out of San Francisco in the United States.