Andhra Pradesh High Court Files Writ Petition Through Its Registrar General for Misuse of Social Media

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Andhra Pradesh High Court has filed a writ petition through its Registrar General. The Bench will soon hear the matter again in the Third Week of June. This post gives a brief background on what had transpired. The writ is against the Andhra Pradesh State authorities. Police, Central Government authorities, and social media companies are also parties. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram are also parties in the petition.

Points Reflected in the Petition

The petition made allegations against state functionaries. Firstly, it alleged that these functionaries are slow to act on complaints made to it. On an earlier occasion, the High Court had filed several FIRs with Cyber cell wing of Andhra Pradesh. The petition contends that social media platforms are misused. Secondly, it aims to spread hatred against the High Courts.

In April, there were two FIRs against such posts. The FIRs were against several unknown persons who used the social media account. Yet, there is no deterrence effect. Even more, such incidents occurred afterward. Recently, the Andhra Pradesh High Court has passed judgments on important matters. This trolling is due to certain judgments of the Court which are not appreciated by few citizens. Additionally, the Court took suo moto cognizance in contempt matter some weeks ago. It issued contempt notice against 49 persons. Accused persons had posted abusive and life-threatening public statements against the Court. Registrar General recorded some objectionable statements in the letter written to the Advocate General. Now he can start contempt proceedings.

Petitioner’s Prayers

The writ petition prayed for removal of abusive posts from online platforms. It prayed for progressing the investigation in FIRs filed in this regard. The petitioner also appealed for the transfer of investigation into FIRs. They want an independent agency to probe into this. Such an agency will work under the supervision of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. Thus, the prayer highlighted the need for framing guidelines for intermediary liability. Not only that, but also to protect the Judiciary from online abuse. There is a need for social media companies to devise a self-regulatory framework. Therefore, it must seek to prohibit the posting of defamatory content.

Court’s Order

The Court initiated this petition for the removal of abusive online content. It ordered to remove abusive posts made against the Court. The Bench of Chief Justice JK Maheshwari and Justice C Praveen Kumar heard the matter on May 29. It issued notice and ordered the respondents to remove the abusive content online. It directed social media platforms not to permit the sharing of derogatory comments. The bench will hear the matter next in the third week of June.


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