Chinmayanand case: Drama as SIT tries to ‘whisk away’ law student
Shahjahanpur: The special investigation team (SIT) tasked to probe two cases involving BJP leader Chinmayanand caused a scare to the 23year-old complainant, who’s also an accused in a related extortion case, when they stopped her while she was on way to court and tried to “whisk her” away.
However, the law student remained adamant that she wouldn’t go with them as she had to appear before court for her anticipatory bail. After a 10-minute high-voltage drama, her father, along with their counsel, arrived on the scene and argued with the SIT members. Several mediapersons had also arrived there by that time, which “forced” the SIT to do a Uturn and accompany her to court. Minutes later, the local court admitted her interim bail application.
The court’s observations bring into focus a tricky area for lawmaking as social media is seen as a “democratising” medium that gives voice to individuals and viewpoints. At the same time its misuse for slandering reputations, spreading disinformation, and circulating inflammatory content and rumours which have, in many instances, sparked violence, pose a challenge for law enforcement. Sharing his personal experience, Justice Gupta said he recently discovered that even an AK-47 is being sold online and it took him just few minutes to find the site. He said his ignorance about social media is “bliss” and he intended to change his smartphone for a basic one to keep away from new media.
The court was hearing a plea of Facebook and WhatsApp seeking transfer of cases to SC pertaining to regulation of social media profiles which are pending in different HCs, including the Madras HC which took suo motu cognisance of the issue.
Senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Mukul Rohatgi said the matter should be adjudicated by SC as the issue is very important and would have international ramifications. They said the originator of an objectionable message cannot be tracked on social media where information is encrypted end-to-end. Attorney general K K Venugopal, appearing for the Tamil Nadu government, opposed their plea and said proceedings in the Madras HC are at an advanced stage and HC should decide the case. He said multinational firms have no business to operate if they do not take action against people who use their platforms for illegal purposes. “Let them go out of the country,” he said.
The benchdirected the Centre to file an affidavit and adjourned the hearing to October 22.