Right to silence valuable, protect it: Harish Salve urges Supreme Court as it reserves orders2 min read

BY- TANISHKA PANDEY

The Supreme Court, after extensive hearings reserved orders in the plea moved by Facebook India’s head Ajit Mohan.

The plea of Ajit Mohan v. Legislative Assembly, National Capital Territory of Delhi was challenging the notice issued by the Delhi Assembly’s Peace and Harmony Committee for failing to appear before it as a witness in connection with its inquiry into the 2020 Delhi riots.

A three judge Bench of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy reserved the verdict after the submissions on the plea were wrapped up.

Senior advocate Harish Salve appearing for Ajit Mohan asserted that that Facebook India cannot be compelled to speak before the Peace and Harmony Committee, urging the top court to uphold the right to silence. Harish salve also implored the court torestrict the Delhi Assembly from expanding its powers “through the backdoor.” He further contended that with the presences of a huge political divide today in India, the right of a person to not express his views is constitutionally protected.

Salve also contended that the Delhi Assembly’s issue is less to do with Facebook and more to do with its differences with the ruling Central Government.

Solicitor general Tushar Mehta appearing for the Central government opposed the submission of the assembly panel which stated that the law and order fell under the domain of the Delhi police which is accountable to the Central government.

Senior Advocates AM Singhvi and Rajeev Dhavan appeared for the Peace and Harmony Committee.

Salve has argued that the Delhi Assembly does not have the legislative competence to summon Facebook India in a matter that is beyond its assigned core functions, since Delhi is not a State but a Union Territory. He contended that the domain of holding the executive accountable will rest with the Central government and not the Delhi Assembly.

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