Delhi HC could hear plea in opposition to ban on social media use by troopers

New Delhi, July 13

The Delhi High Court could on Tuesday hear a high military officer’s plea in opposition to the order banning use of social networking platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, by the military personnel.

The petition, filed by Lieutenant Colonel PK Choudhary by advocates Shivank Pratap Singh and Sanandika Pratap Singh, has sought the courtroom’s path to the Director General of Military Intelligence (DGMI) for withdrawal of the order.

The DGMI ordered the military personnel to delete their accounts from social networking platforms and had banned use of 89 apps and web sites by all military personnel.

“The soldiers rely on social networking platforms, like Facebook, to address issues arising in their families while posted in remote locations. They often use the virtual connect to compensate for the physical distance between them and their families,” the plea mentioned.

Soldiers serve in distant areas, excessive climate circumstances and tough terrain with the lingering risk of an enemy assault on a regular basis. All that take a toll on troopers’ bodily and psychological well being, it added.

“With the advent of internet, particularly high-speed internet connectivity over mobile networks, soldiers found an effective way to come closer to their friends, family and loved ones in the virtual world. This greatly eased the stress suffered on a daily basis due to the harsh service conditions,” the plea mentioned.

The petitioner mentioned the provisions pertaining to ban on use of social networking platforms and the path to delete accounts violated Fundamental Rights beneath the Constitution, together with the best to freedom of speech and expression and the best to privateness.

Websites and apps, like Facebook and Instagram, had grow to be extra standard modes of communication, and India accounted for the most important variety of Facebook customers on the earth, it mentioned.

“The policy to the extent that it bans use of various social networking platforms by soldiers and directs soldiers to delete their accounts on Facebook, is illegal, arbitrary, disproportionate and violates the Fundamental Rights of soldiers,” the petitioner mentioned.

The DGMI, it mentioned, had cited safety issues and dangers of information breach as the premise of imposing restrictions concerning utilization of social media platforms.

“The purported concerns and risks highlighted in the policy are not limited to being applicable to only soldiers. There are several members of the civil administration and political class, who possess information of a much higher level of sensitivity than a regular soldier and no restrictions apply them,” the petition mentioned.

Therefore, the act of banning utilization and directing deletion of accounts of troopers from social networking platforms was a transparent violation of Article 14 of the Constitution, it added.


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