In an oral warning to Facebook (Meta), the High Court of Karnataka said that it may order its operations in India to be shut down if it does not cooperate with police investigation over a fake profile.
How Did This Happen?
In a recent incident, an Indian national from Mangaluru named Shailesh Kumar, is in prison in Saudi Arabia allegedly over a derogatory Facebook post against the king of that nation and Islam.
Lateron his wife Kavitha has complained to the local police that it was a fake profile of her husband on which the derogatory message was posted.
But, police couldn’t complete the investigation on the fake profile prompting Ms Kavitha to approach the high court.
On Wednesday, Justice Krishna S Dixit heard her petition which was originally filed in 2021.
Prior to this, on June 12, the high court had ordered, “The Commissioner of Police, Mangalore (Mangaluru), is directed to study the case papers and be present before the Court to answer as to why there has been arguably enormous delay in accomplishing the investigation of the matter when a citizen of this country is languishing in a jail of a foreign country after trial and conviction when his specific stand was that his Facebook account was hacked.”
During this hearing on 14 June, Mangaluru city police commissioner Kuldeep Kumar Jain and the investigating officer in the case were present in the high court.
According to Ms Kavitha’s complaint to the police, Shailesh has been working in Saudi Arabia for the past 25 years.
He had posted in support of the Indian Government’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizenship (NRC) move.
Following that, he allegedly received a threat call over this post so he deleted his account.
Afterword, some miscreants created a fake account in his name and uploaded a derogatory post against the Saudi king and Islam, Ms Kavitha said.
Because of this Shailesh was arrested in Saudi Arabia, tried and sentenced to 15 years in jail.
Facebook Not Cooperated With Police
Ms Kavitha filed a police complaint about the fake profile in her husband’s name, based on the information he has provided.
In this regard, the police commissioner informed the high court on Wednesday that the investigation has been delayed as Facebook has not cooperated with the police.
When the counsel for Facebook was questioned, he had no information about the exact location of the incident.
So, the high court issued the warning that the operations of Facebook would have to be ordered to shut down if it did not cooperate with the investigation, as per the media report.
In response, counsel sought a week’s time to submit the details required.
In the meantime, the high court adjourned the hearing to June 22 directing Facebook to submit a detailed report on the incident and relevant information.
On May 29, 2023, Meta, Facebook’s parent company, was arraigned as a party to the petition.
Besides this, the high court also directed the Union government to detail the steps taken to secure the Indian national who has been jailed in a foreign prison in a fake case.
The high court’s June 12 order read, “Union Government should also make a statement based upon records to be given in a sealed cover as to what happened to the concerned citizen; whether he was given lawyer’s assistance on a foreign soil; whether apparently trial proceedings were held with fairness standards as obtaining in the international criminal law.”
The high court warned the Union government saying “if the details as sought are not furnished, the concerned secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs may be summoned personally before the Court.”