A month after the former Twitter India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari got relief from the Karnataka High Court in connection with summons issued by Ghaziabad Police, the apex court sought his response on an appeal by the Uttar Pradesh government. The UP government has challenged the Karnataka High Court's decision to quash the summons after a communally sensitive video uploaded by a user on the microblogging site. A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana took note of the submissions of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the state government, and issued notice to Maheshwari, who has been transferred to the USA by his employer Twitter Inc in August.
The state government, which has filed the plea through the Senior Superintendent of Police of Ghaziabad had, on September 8, mentioned its appeal for an urgent hearing. The plea challenges the July 23 order of the Karnataka High Court quashing the notice issued to Maheshwari to appear before the police and cooperate in the probe related to uploading of a communally sensitive video on Twitter.
The Karnataka High Court has interfered with the summons issued to the then Twitter Managing Director by the Uttar Pradesh Police, the law officer had said. Holding the notice as mala fide, the HC had said the notice under Section 41(A) of the CrPC should be read with section 160 of CrPC (police officer' s power to require attendance of witnesses), allowing the Ghaziabad Police to question Maheshwari through virtual mode, at his office or his residential address in Bengaluru. Section 41(A) of the CrPC gives power to police to issue a notice to an accused to appear before it when a complaint is filed. If the accused complies with the notice and cooperates, then he is not required to be arrested.
Maintaining that the provisions of the statute under Section 41(A) CrPC should not be permitted to become "tools of harassment", it had said the Ghaziabad Police did not place any material which would demonstrate even the prima facie involvement of the petitioner, though the hearing has been going on for the past several days.
"In the background of the fact that section 41(A) notice was issued by mala fide, the writ petition (filed by Maheshwari seeking quashing) is maintainable. Accordingly, the notice under section Annexure A notice shall be read as section 160 of the CrPC," the high court had said.
"The action of the respondent (Ghaziabad Police) trying to invoke section 41(A) of the CrPC gives no doubt in the mind of court that the same has been resorted to as an arm-twisting method as the petitioner refused to heed to the notice under section 160 of the CrPC," it had observed.
The Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh) Police had issued a notice under Section 41(A) of the CrPC on June 21, asking him to report at the Loni Border Police Station at 10.30 am on June 24.
Maheshwari then moved the Karnataka High Court as he was staying in Bengaluru at that time. On June 24, the High Court, in an interim order, restrained the Ghaziabad Police from initiating any coercive action against him.