- An Army officer has moved the Delhi High Court challenging the decision of the central government to ban personnel of the security forces from using social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
The petition, filed by Lt Col PK Choudhary through advocates Shivank Pratap Singh and Sanandika Pratap Singh, urged the High Court to issue directions to the Director-General of Military Intelligence (DGMS) to withdraw its policy dated August 6, 2020.
The petition will come up for hearing before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.
Choudhary sought directions to the respondent authorities to withdraw its policy to delete their accounts from social networking platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Currently, the petitioner is serving in the Indian Army currently posted in Jammu and Kashmir and claimed to be an active user of Facebook and uses the platform inter alia to connect with his friends and family.
He submitted before the court that most of his family members are settled abroad including his elder daughter. His younger daughter studies in a residential school, while his wife works in Lucknow and his father also spends a lot of time outside India, he said in the plea.
The petitioner finds social media platforms, particularly Facebook as an important tool to connect with his family, the petition said adding that through Facebook, he maintains his social relationships with friends, family and other acquaintances in the absence of opportunities to physically interact with them.
“The petitioner has used his Facebook account responsibly in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Indian Army from time to time and has never shared any classified or sensitive information pertaining to his role and duties as an Indian Army officer over Facebook or any other social networking platform,” the plea said.
It said that the policy to ban the use of social networking platforms and order soldiers to delete their accounts on the list of social networking platforms and websites is unenforceable, illegal, and unconstitutional.
He added that the ban and order to delete accounts if imposed would amount to an abrogation of the fundamental rights of the soldiers, including the right to freedom of speech and expression, and the right to privacy.