HC relief to IAS officer: FB, Google, Twitter told to remove posts

New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) In temporary relief to a suspended IAS official, the Delhi High Court has passed interim orders directing internet search giant Google and social media platforms Facebook and Instagram to take down some objectionable posts and tweets by a woman who had levelled allegations against him.

“Considering the nature of posts put against the plaintiff, Google LLC is directed to take down the posts or links from the country domain, Twitter Inc is also directed to take down/disable the tweets from the country domain,” said a single judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta.

“Facebook Inc in the meantime, is also directed to take down the posts from the Facebook within one week from the date of intimation of the order,” the court added.

The court was hearing an appeal by the suspended IAS official who knocked the doors of the high court seeking damages from the woman for defaming him and also praying for permanent and mandatory injunction.

As per the plaint of the bureaucrat, he had come in contact with this woman, who was married, via social media platform Facebook in the year 2017 while he was in Mexico on a delegation tour of the Indian government following which the woman sent him numerous friend requests on the said social media platform.

He further said that he told her that he was already married, however, they both met at a hotel where he was staying. The plaint claimed that in early months of 2018, the woman started requesting him for money.

“The plaintiff gave with the sole intention of bailing out a friend in troubled times, however, it was realised that the defendant No 1 was using all the tricks including verbal abuse, physical assault and threatened the plaintiff of committing suicide,” the plaint said adding that she also demanded Rs 20 crore, asked him to buy a flat in Delhi for her and transfer his home in Ahmedabad in her name.

The man has alleged that the woman filed a complaint with the Crimes against Women Cell and National Human Rights Commission which were all investigated and nothing was found against him.

“Because of the online campaign conducted by the defendant No 1, different articles and posts on social media platforms have been published and the plaintiff seeks directions from this court to take down the said posts/articles,” the plaintiff prayed.

Following which the court restrained the woman from publishing or disseminating any news relating to the man in any manner on any website/ newspaper/ TV channels including YouTube/ Facebook/Instagram till further orders.

“Considering the averments made in the plaint (by the man) and the application as also the documents filed therewith, this court finds that the plaintiff (man) has made out a prima facie case in his favour and in case no ad-interim ex parte injunction is granted, the plaintiff would suffer an irreparable loss. The balance of convenience also lies in favour of the plaintiff,” Justice Mukta Gupta said in an order passed on July 15.

The court has now kept the matter for further hearing on August 31 while issuing summons to the woman, along with Facebook, Twitter and Google. “Issue summons in the suit and notice in the application to the defendants,” the bench said.



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