The Delhi High Court has ordered Google, Twitter, YouTube, Sudarshan News TV, and other social media platforms to block the links of videos, articles, news, etc. claiming forceful religious conversion of a woman into Islam by a Muslim man.

A Single Bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh directed, “Considering that there is a severe threat to the independent investigation in the FIR and to the safety and security of the Petitioner, as is evident from the comments and videos which have been placed before this Court, it is directed that the links which have been set out in paragraph 11 shall be immediately blocked for public viewing till the next date of hearing.”

The Bench was hearing a plea filed by a man seeking the removal of videos, tweets, and various news items appearing on online platforms and news channels in respect of an FIR registered against him. The petitioner was a classical singer who contended that the news in the form of fake news, and threats are severely jeopardizing his life, reputation, and safety.

Advocate Rajiv Bajaj represented the petitioner while Advocates T. Singh Dev, Nisha Bhambhani, and Mamta Jha represented the respondents.

Facts -

An FIR was lodged by a lady against the petitioner with whom she was in a relationship for the last eight years and the allegations in the FIR were under investigation by the concerned Police authorities. The counsel for the petitioner submitted that the circulation of the videos is posing a great threat to the independent investigation of the FIR, and to the petitioner’s personal safety and security.

It was further submitted that the videos released by Sudarshan News and other platforms were extremely derogatory and the comments on the YouTube platform showed that there was a threat to his life as well. It was also stated that the petitioner wrote an email dated May 9, 2023, to the respondents in respect of his grievances.

The High Court in the above context observed, “Let Ms. Hetu Arora Sethi, ld. ASC for the Delhi Police also contact the Complainant in the said FIR and intimate the Complainant about the pendency of this petition. Ms. Sethi shall also file a status report regarding the investigation by the next date. … Mr. Sandeep Mohapatra, ld. ASC, who is present in Court, is requested to accept notice on behalf of the Union of India. He is requested to seek instructions from the Respondent No. 1-Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting as well.”

The Court, has, therefore, issued notice to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Press Council of India, News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority, Google LLC, Twitter Inc, and other news and social media platforms.

Accordingly, the Court listed the matter for the next hearing on May 24, 2023.

Cause Title- Azmat Ali Khan v. Union of India & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:DHC:3278)

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