Social Media, IT Related Issues Come Under Our Domain, Not States: Centre Tells Supreme Court
Matters related to information technology and law relating to social media intermediaries come under the domain of Parliament and the Central government. The Delhi Assembly or any State Assembly has no jurisdiction over such issues, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
The Centre, through Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, was making its submissions in a plea filed by senior Facebook executive Ajit Mohan, who was asked by the Delhi Legislative Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee to testify before it in connection with the Delhi riots or face breach of privilege action.
Arguing before a Bench led by Justice S.K. Kaul, Mr. Mehta said the States should not interfere with issues that do not come within their domain under the guise of cooperative federalism. “Cooperative federalism was used in a different context. It does not empower States to go into areas which are in Union List,” he submitted.
Justice Kaul, however, said the issue in the case was whether Facebook could be forced to join an inquiry.
Mr. Mohan argued before the top court that he was well within his rights to remain silent and not be compelled by the Peace and Harmony Committee to be part of a “politically polarised debate” on the riots.
Senior advocate Harish Salve, who was representing Mr. Mohan, had submitted that his client cannot be forced to appear before the committee even if he is exempted from taking the oath. He had also raised concerns about the mandate of the committee, which include taking action against persons against whom incriminating evidence for incitement of violence was prima facie found.