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Delhi HC disposed off PIL against Twitter’s alleged inaction over pro-Khalistan tweets; PIL part of larger trend

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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL that sought legal action against Twitter and its employees in India for abetting the Khalistan movement by deriving financial benefit from promoting their tweets. The division bench of Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad refused to interfere since the petitioner had not made a representation before the central government. Bar and Bench had first reported about this issue. Despite its disposal, the petition is one of the many PILs filed against Twitter in Indian high courts over the last few months (more on that below). The criminal writ petition, which had been filed by a Delhi-resident Sangeeta Sharma, argued that Twitter has derived financial benefit from ads and promoted tweets sponsored by the supporters of the separatist Khalistan movement. The petition alleged that Twitter’s servers were used to promote the creation of Khalistan. Calling it a “brazen attack on sovereignty and integrity in India on twitter platform”, she alleged that was “to the detriment to the citizens as a whole”. Sharma also alleged that Twitter did not remove content from pro-Khalistan users. Why did the court dismiss the petition? Since the petitioner had not raised these issues with Twitter or any of the other respondents — Central government, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), Ministry of Law and Justice, and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) —, the bench refused to hear it on merits. The central government’s lawyer, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, agreed with…

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