The Delhi High Court has issued notices to Google, Facebook, and Twitter in India seeking their response and that of the federal government to a petition to remove fake news on social media platforms.
The court on Wednesday sought the government's stance on a plea by K. N. Govindacharya, a former Bharatiya Janata Party politician, to prevent fake news and hate speech from being circulated on social media and online platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google.
The petition lodged by Govindacharya accusing various social media platforms of misusing free speech and not complying with Indian laws causing division in society and riots.
The matter will be heard in court on 13 March.
According to Justice D.N. Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar, each of the social media websites should have at least one designated officer in charge of removing unsuitable content from their sites under the Informational Technology Act, 2000.
Social media websites were recently accused of provoking people through dissemination of alleged fake news and hate speech during deadly violence in Delhi. At least 53 people were killed and hundreds were left injured after Hindu-Muslim clashes broke out in north-east Delhi over the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The law has been termed as "unconstitutional and against Muslims" by opposition parties and rights groups, an allegation denied by the federal government. The controversial CAA law will facilitate the process of obtaining citizenship for non-Muslim illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan who arrived in India before 31 December 2014 and were "persecuted" at home.