Uttar Pradesh Police on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court to challenge a Karnataka High Court order giving Twitter India head Manish Maheshwari temporary protection from arrest in connection with tweets about the assault of a Muslim man near Delhi.
Last week the Karnataka High Court said UP Police could not take any “coercive action” against Mr Maheshwari – whom the police had summoned to UP for questioning and then later charged with intent to riot, promoting enmity and criminal conspiracy charges.
The court also said Mr Maheshwari – a Bengaluru resident – did not have to travel to UP now.
A single-judge bench of Justice G Narender said: “This matter needs further consideration”, and reserved orders till June 29. “No coercive action (till then) …” Justice Narender said.
To an objection by UP Police that this meant Mr Maheshwari, who is a resident of Bengaluru, had been granted anticipatory bail, the court said it was not stopping the investigation.
“If police desire to investigate or question, they may do so by virtual mode,” Justice Narender said.
During the hearing Mr Maheshwari had told the Karnataka High Court: “In two days, the notices (from the police) to me changed from witness to accused.”
He pointed out that on June 17 UP Police sent him a notice identifying him as a witness under Section 160 of Code of Criminal Procedure. Two days later, they sent him another that listed him as an accused under Section 41 of the CrPC, which would have allowed his arrest.
The court questioned UP Police over the summons, saying: “… he (Mr Maheshwari) is not Director of day-to-day activities of Twitter. At least prima facie you should show he is responsible…”
On the change of notice to Mr Maheshwari UP Police said it was “based on investigation”.
With inputs from NDTV