File photo of the Amaravati High Court
File photo of the Amaravati High Court

Defamatory, abusive posts against judiciary removed, Twitter tells HC

In October 2020, the HC had directed the CBI to investigate some comments allegedly made by YSRCP supporters on social media against the court and some judges.

Twitter informed the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday, February 7, that it has completely removed abusive and defamatory comments against the judiciary from the platform. This was conveyed to the court during the hearing of a suo moto case in connection with abusive and defamatory social media posts against the judiciary and judges.

In an affidavit, Twitter said that all such posts have been removed and they were not visible even outside India. The court directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to verify the claim made in the affidavit. A division bench of Chief Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra and Justice M. Satyanarayana Murthy asked the CBI to file a memo in this regard and adjourned the hearing by two weeks.

Twitter filed the affidavit after it was clearly told by the court on January 31 to either follow the law of the land or face action. The division bench was upset that Twitter did not remove several comments posted against the judiciary and some High Court judges. The social media platform was told that not taking any action to remove the content despite the court's direction amounts to contempt of court and that action could be taken against it.

The court took serious note of Twitter not complying with its orders after the CBI told the court that while the objectionable posts were not visible to a Twitter user in India, they could still be seen outside the country. The court also noted that YouTube took down all the URLs given by CBI regarding the offensive posts, and they were no longer visible in other countries and asked Twitter why it failed to remove the posts.

In October 2020, the High Court had directed the CBI to investigate some comments allegedly made by supporters of the ruling YSR Congress Party on social media against the court and some judges following a few court orders seen as a setback to the government. The CBI also arrested at least five persons who were allegedly behind the posts and comments on Twitter, and questioned a couple of leaders of the ruling party seeking information about their supporters who may have posted some of the comments.

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