Delhi High Court: Yogesh Khanna, J., held that no coercive action shall be taken against the co-founder of ALT News with regard to the FIR alleging him to have harassed a minor girl on twitter.
Petitioner who is a journalist and co-founder of news website outlet ALT News and due to the nature of his work is often abused, threatened and demeaned by people.
Two separate FIRs have been registered against the petitioner. In one FIR it has been submitted that the petitioner had shared an old image of his wearing traditional Indian attire and one Jagdish Singh from his twitter handle replied to this image “once a jihadi is always a jihadi”.
In July again the petitioner tweeted a simple tweet, wherein again Jagdish Singh from his twitter handle replied to the petitioner with a vulgarly worded image “Tu toh bada mad****** nikla re”.
Again a similar instance occurred to which, this time the petitioner re-tweeted on Jagdish Singh’s tweet displaying a picture which was visible to the public wherein Jagdish Singh was standing with his daughter whose face was pixelated/blurred by the petitioner and he wrote “Hello Jagdish Singh, Does your cute granddaughter know about your part-time job of abusing people on social media? I suggest you change your profile pic”.
Further, the petitioner argued that the tweet would not reveal if it was intending to cause harassment to the minor girl and rather the said tweet was made on respondent 3 personal account.
06-08-2020: Respondent 3 made a complaint to respondent 2 against the petitioner. Only through twitter, the petitioner got to know that respondent 2 has taken cognizance of the complaint filed.
Petitioner submitted that the copy of the FIR was never supplied to him and for this reason, he could not respond to the allegations made against him.
Bench directed respondent 1 and 4 to supply a copy of the present FIR to the petitioner and should also file a status report on or before the next date.
Response from the police and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has also been sought.
Though respondent 2 submitted she was performing her duty as an informant, however, petitioner states that the information annexed at page 40of the paper book comes from the twitter handle of respondent 2 and the said information was made public, probably to harass the petitioner.
Respondent 2 shall also file a reply on or before the next date.
Matter has been listed for 08-12-2020, till then no coercive action to be taken. [Mohammed Zubair v. State of GNCT, 2020 SCC OnLine Del 1189, decided on 09-09-2020]