New Delhi: The Delhi assembly on Sunday issued fresh summons to Facebook India’s vice-president and managing director Ajit Mohan to depose infront of the committee on 23 September. This comes after Mohan had refused to appear infront of the committee last week citing reasons including the union Parliament looking into the issue having exclusive rights and the central government having the law and order rights over the issue.
According to the summons issued, any rebuttal or disregard to the this subsequent notice shall be deemed as a willful act of breach of privilege and thus shall entail various proceedings initiated against Facebook India.
Delhi assembly committee is looking into allegations against the social media platforms inaction over controlling harmful content and is also probing if “there is any role or complicity of Facebook officials in Delhi Riots” which took place earlier this year.
“On 15.09.2020, the last date of meeting, the committee through its chairman had sturdily objected to the Facebook’s attempt to diminish the stature of the committee by being sceptical of its power to take cognizance of the present issue. It was categorically stated by Raghav Chadha that the Delhi legislative committee is operating in its constitutionally lawful jurisdiction and does not conflict or weaken the jurisdiction of Central Government on similar issues,” a statement issued by the committee said.
“It has been further decided that in the event of subsequent default in complying to the orders of the committee it shall be constrained to proceed against the Facebook India for committing the breach of committee’s privilege which shall follow consequent penal jurisdiction of the house under the relevant laws and rules and regulation,” the statement added.
The social media platform has faced criticism over allegations that it favours the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government in India, to push its own business goals in Asia’s third largest economy. According to a report by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Ankhi Das, Facebook India’s director for public policy, had opposed the removal of content from BJP leaders, that qualified as hate speech.
The Delhi committee took up the matter after receiving complaints on their role to take action against hurtful content and the subsequent role in the Delhi riots. The committee has so far called experts and journalists to depose on the matter.