Facebook India head moves Supreme Court against Delhi Assembly panel’s notice, hearing tomorrow

Ajit Mohan, the India head of social media giant Facebook, has moved the Supreme Court against a notice sent to him by the Delhi Assembly. The petition will be heard by a three-judge bench headed by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

The Delhi Assembly’s peace and harmony committee has sent a fresh notice asking Mohan, Facebook India vice president and managing director, to present himself for a deposition before the panel on September 23.

The committee, which is headed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) spokesperson and legislator Raghav Chadha, had on Tuesday issued a warning to Facebook India after Mohan failed to appear before the panel for its third hearing, despite having been summoned.
The committee had earlier said Facebook was in contempt of the Delhi assembly, and gave the social media company a “final warning” to heed the summons and appear before it, dismissing a letter sent by executives of the firm, declining to present themselves before the panel.

In a letter, Facebook’s director (trust and safety) Vikram Langer told the peace and harmony committee of the Delhi assembly on Tuesday that the company’s India head, Ajit Mohan, could not appear before the panel because it was already deposing before a parliamentary standing committee, and contended that the firm‘s content regulation was outside the jurisdiction of the state assembly.

The assembly’s first notice was issued to Mohan after the committee’s second hearing on September 12, in connection with complaints about the social media company’s alleged “deliberate and intentional inaction to contain hateful content” in the country.

The notice was issued after the committee, in its second hearing on August 31, said prima facie it had found that Facebook India was allegedly complicit in aggravating the communal violence in north-east Delhi in February that left at least 53 people dead and over 400 injured.

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