Twitter Sent Legal Notice for Suspending Account that Reported ‘Positive Stories from Kashmir’

After more than a five-month gap of suspending two Twitter accounts of Sajid Yousuf Shah – a renowned socio-political activist and founder of the Real Kashmir News – the social media platform received a legal notice filed on behalf of the Sajid Yousuf through Abhishek Choudhary, Advocate, Supreme Court of India.

A start-up digital news agency which aims to bring out the positive stories from Kashmir, the social media giant had first suspended Sajid’s accounts (@TheSkandar and @TheRealKashmir_) on January 6, 2020, and later on 15 March 2020, and ultimately on 13 January, 2021, without stating a ‘justified’ reason.

“On one hand, you, the Noticee Company, has termed the action of ‘Permanent Suspension’ as one of the most severe enforcement action in your company policy and has also provided the provision for filing appeal against such suspensions, however, on the other, you, the Noticee Company, have shown insensitive approach in handling matters related to account suspension and appeals filed in relation hitherto by sending such automated response, which prima facie, lacks any reasoning, much less any logical, legal or prudent reasoning,” the notice filed on behalf of Yousuf reads.

It is also stated that Sajid Yousuf fails to understand why his two accounts were suspended when the microblogging site “could not provide a substantial proof of violation of Twitter Rules”.

Alleging bias and unfairness, the notice read that Twitter has not taken any action against other twitter account holders for violating rules against posting private information, but has suspended the accounts of Sajid Yousuf, that too when Twitter failed to prove any such violation.

Alleging violation of recently notified IT Rules, 2021, according to the notice, “by not notifying a person who is resident in India, as a ‘Resident Grievance Officer’ within the meaning of the Rules, 2021, you have not only violated the Indian Laws, but also have left my Client with no other option, but to approach to you through his legal counsel”.

“In relation to the twitter account @therealkashmir_, Twitter investigated a request received from Pakistan claiming violation of the laws of Pakistan by the content tweeted by Sajid. However, Twitter informed that it could not find any such violation. Therefore, the suspension of account is uncalled for,” the notice read.

The notice filed by Advocate Abhishek Choudhary further states that Sajid’s tweets do not fall under any of the categories of prohibited posts. These categories include violence, abuse/harassment, and hateful conduct, among others.

The notice further reads: “It is clear from the above that suspension of my Client’s Twitter account is arbitrary, illegal and Twitter’s own policies. The same is also an infringement to my client’s right to freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution. 

As a result, the notice demands that both account be restored. Twitter has also been asked to issue a public apology to him for infringing his fundamental rights and tarnishing his image in public.

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