Company MD has been summoned for questioning by the police in Ghaziabad video case
The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesday asked the Uttar Pradesh police whether they had made basic inquiry on whether Twitter Communications India Pvt. Ltd. is “capable of controlling” the contents of a video related to assault on an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad before issuing a notice to the company’s managing director (MD) Manish Maheshwari.
The court also asked the U.P. police whether they had ascertained whether Twitter India was an intermediary or not before summoning Mr. Maheshwari for questioning on behalf of Twitter in connection with a case registered for uploading and circulating the “communally sensitive” video.
Justice G. Narendra posed these questions during the hearing of the petition filed by Mr. Maheshwari challenging the notice issued by the Loni Border police on June 21 asking him to join the investigation after he replied to their earlier notice of June 17 indicating that he was prepared to cooperate with the investigation through videoconference.
To these questions, advocate P. Prasanna Kumar, appearing for the U.P. police, said the role of Twitter would have to be probed and the question of whether Twitter India was intermediary or responsible for controlling contents was a matter of investigation. Mr. Maheshwari was being summoned to ascertain persons responsible for controlling contents on behalf of the company as he has been designated as its MD, said Mr. Kumar
“Is there anything to show there is some omission by Twitter… If there is an allegation under Section 376 [of IPC], potency is relevant. You are investigating against the company and to investigate you are required to identify the individual… This petitioner is nothing unless you can show he could have prevented it [circulation of video], the judge observed orally.
Earlier, Mr. Kumar also contended that Mr. Maheshwari does not face the threat of arrest as he has been summoned only as a representative of Twitter India, which has been arraigned as an accused.
It was also contended on behalf of the U.P. police that the High Court of Karnataka had no jurisdiction to entertain Mr. Maheshwari’s petition as neither whole or part of cause of action had arisen from the territorial jurisdiction of the High Court.
However, Senior Advocate C.V. Nagesh, appearing for Mr. Maheshwari, made it clear that Mr. Maheshwari was prepared to appear before the U.P. police physically for questioning but he expects an undertaking from the police that he would not be taken into custody as he was not a legal representative of Twitter India but was a mere employee.
Referring to data of the Registrar of Companies (RoC) produced along with the petition on who are directors of Twitter India, Mr. Nagesh said that U.P. police could have got the information on who are the legal representatives of Twitter India.
Mr. Nagesh, from the RoC records, read out three names, Sean Jeffrey Edgett, Winston Sei Seng Foo, and Anup Ashok Malashetty, stating that these are the three directors of Twitter India. The Senior Advocate also said it is the Twitter Inc, U.S., which has control over the contents and not Twitter India. The court adjourned further arguments till July 7.
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