Rahul Gandhi's Account Locked, Twitter Tells Delhi HC

The Congress leader's tweet containing a photograph of the parents of the nine-year-old Dalit girl who was allegedly raped and murdered recently in Delhi was taken down.

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New Delhi: Twitter told the Delhi high court that it has removed a tweet by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi that contained a photograph showing the parents of the nine-year-old Delhi girl who was allegedly raped and murdered recently in southwest Delhi on August 1.

Gandhi’s account has also been locked, the social media company said.

Twitter submitted the above information in response to a petition moved by Makarand Suresh Mhadlekar, a social activist, who called for criminal action against Gandhi, including registration of an FIR (first information report), citing that his tweet violated the provisions of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which prohibit the disclosure of the identity of minor victims of sexual offences.

A bench of Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh refused to issue notice on the public interest litigation (PIL) by Mhadlekar at this stage and asked the parties involved in the case to keep one to two pages of submissions ready by the next date of hearing, which is September 27.

Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, representing Twitter, told the court that the tweet in question has been removed as it was found to be in violation of the platform’s own policy.

“The account has been locked and the tweet is not available,” Poovayya said.

Also read: Dalit Girl’s Death: NCPCR Asks Twitter to Take Action Against Rahul Gandhi Over Photo

Counsel for Mhadlekar, advocate Gautam Jha, however, responded that he disputed Twitter’s stand and urged the court to call for an affidavit.

“Why should they lie? The counsel for Twitter is saying that they have removed. Very responsible they are… Immediately, even without asking from the court, they have removed. They are making the statement. There is no reason to dispute,” observed the court, according to Indian Express.

“If this is the attitude, we are not issuing notice,” the court remarked as it proceeded to adjourn the hearing.

Senior advocate R.S. Cheema appeared for Rahul Gandhi.

The petitioner alleged that Gandhi was attempting to take political mileage out of the “unfortunate incident”. The plea also seeks initiation of appropriate legal action against Gandhi by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

NCPCR had sent out a letter on August 4 to the resident grievance officer of Twitter, saying it received a complaint that a photo of the victim’s family has been posted on the Twitter handle @Rahul Gandhi with the caption stating that they are the father and the mother of the child. It called Twitter to initiate appropriate action against Gandhi.

On August 1, the nine-year-old Dalit girl in question was allegedly raped and murdered in Delhi’s cantonment area located in Purana Nangal Gaon. The victim’s family alleged that she was raped and murdered by a priest and three crematorium workers in the locality. The girl’s parents alleged that she was “forcibly” cremated by the accused without their consent.

Rahul Gandhi and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had met the bereaved family.

(With PTI inputs)