By LE Desk

Panaji, June 20, 2021: The Sanatan Sanstha has moved the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court challenging the blocking of three of its Facebook pages.

At a hearing in the case on June 17, the counsel for Facebook India told a division bench of Justice M S Sonak and Justice M S Jawalkar they would like to argue on the maintainability of the petition filed by the NGO. The bench has adjourned the case till July 8, reported The Indian Express.

The NGO stated in its petition: “It is also pertinent to note that the accounts contained articles, news, guidance about Hindu Dharma and the attacks thereon and thus it has nothing to do with any commercial activities”.

According to its petition in the High Court the block of its pages, in September, 2020, was a “violation of the freedom of expression”. It stated that Facebook was ‘usurping’ the powers of the Central government – the first respondent in the case – and was “curbing the fundamental rights of the citizens of India without following any process of law.”

The Sanstha said that directly blocking its pages “without giving any opportunity to the petitioner is unjust, unfair and needs to be cured.” It stated that only on directions of the Central government or a court, could Facebook have blocked its pages.

According to the Sanatan Sanstha, the Centre too had failed to protect its fundamental right. “As this is a blatant violation of the fundamental rights of the petitioner and it is the duty of the Government to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens of India and as there is a complete failure on the part of the respondents to protect the constitutional rights of the petitioner,” the petition stated, reported The Indian Express.

The petition states that the Central government and the Ministry of Electronics and Information – first two respondents in the case – technology should regulate social media platforms like Facebook so that they “do not shift their stands conveniently by claiming status of an ‘intermediary’ u/Information and Technology Act and usurping the power of Respondent. No. 1 and 2 by illegally”.

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