Pearl Narang is a final year law student of B.B.A.LL.B (Hons.) at Chandigarh University, Mohali and is currently interning as a Trainee in Business World Legal Community. She is also pursuing a diploma in Contract Drafting, Negotiation and Dispute Resolution. She is passionate about both law and writing.
Supreme Court Grants Relief to Facebook India VP, Ajit Mohan
The top Court on Wednesday (23.09.2020) ordered the Delhi Legislative Assembly Panel not to take any coercive action against Facebook India VP and MD Ajit Mohan. The order will remain in effect till October 15.
Mr Mohan and Facebook had filed a petition against the summons issued by the Committee of Peace and Harmony of Delhi Assembly. The summons required Mr Mohan to appear before the Committee on September 23.
The petitioners argued that they have a right to remain silent
Represented by Senior Advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi respectively, Mr Mohan and Facebook said the Committee had no authority to compel him to testify.
The petitioners also accused the Assembly of threatening him with “breach of privilege” if he did not appear before the Committee and testify.
Mr Salve in his arguments stated, “I have a right to remain silent. The right to free speech under [Article 19] includes the right to not speak. I work for an American company. I am an outsider and I do not interfere with your [Assembly’s] working... You cannot compel me to come. There is a serious threat here in breach of privilege,”
While acknowledging the petitioners' right to remain silent Justice Aniruddha Bose said that Mr Mohan could exercise his rights under Article 19 to keep silent “because you [Assembly] are compelling him to say something”.
The Court asked the Assembly not to fix any meetings until further orders
The Court restrained the Assembly from fixing any more meetings with Mr Mohan until further orders. The next hearing of the case is scheduled for October 15.
The petition said a larger Bench of the Apex Court should hear and decide the issue that whether a Committee of the Delhi Assembly can compel testimonies in issues of public order and police which are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Centre under Articles 239 and 239AA(3)(a) of the Constitution.
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