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Re-tweets can be defamatory, Apex Court Says in AAP leader’s case

Team SoOLEGAL 16 Dec 2017 11:59am

Re-tweets can be defamatory, Apex Court Says in AAP leader’s case

The Supreme Court of India rejected Aam Aadmi Party functionary Raghav Chadha’s petition to wriggle out of trial in a Rs 10-crore defamation case filed by union finance minister Arun Jaitely against him and five others, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on the contention that there was no law making a re-tweet defamatory.

Chadha's counsel, Anand Grover, argued that his client had been summoned by the trial court without there being any law to prosecute a re-tweet of an allegedly defamatory tweet by Kejriwal. "There is no law and no ruling by any court in the world declaring that re-tweet of a tweet amounts to publication of defamatory material which could be liable for prosecution," Grover said.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud disagreed with Grover's contention. Justice Chandrachud said, "Take for example a tweet which is per se derogatory, abusive or contains graphic pornographic material. Can one who re-tweets such a tweet say he has only re-tweeted the material and is not the author of it and hence should not face prosecution?"    

Can one who re-tweets say he was completely oblivious to the contents of the tweet even if it is highly derogatory and pornographic?" Justice Chandrachud asked.

Grover said a re-tweet was an issue covered under the Information Technology Act and since Section 66A was deleted by the apex court in the Shreya Singhal case, there was no provision in the IT Act to prosecute defamation.

"Section 499 and 500 of the Indian Penal Code cannot apply to an alleged offence under the Information Technology Act," he said.

[Source: TOI]

Tagged: Supreme Court   Judge   Tweets   Re-tweets   Chief Minister   IT Act  
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