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Karnataka HC dismisses Twitter plea against government’s account blocking order, imposes Rs 50 lakh cost

Twitter owner Elon Musk said in an interview with BBC that in India, social media rules have been extremely strict and it has not been possible for the website to offer the same freedom of speech to Indian users that it has done in the US and other Western countries.

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The Karnataka High Court dismissed Twitter’s plea against the centre’s order to block some accounts on Friday, saying the company’s petition was devoid of merit. A single-judge bench headed by Justice Krishna S Dixit also imposed a fine of RS 50 lakh on Twitter, justifying that the company had not given reasons for not complying with centre’s directions.

Justice Krishna also directed Twitter to pay the fine within 45 days to the Karnataka Legal Services Authority. The court added any delay in payment would be liable for an additional penalty of Rs 5,000 per day. Twitter was not a farmer or a common person but a billion-dollar company.

The micro-blogging platform challenged the series of account-blocking orders issued by the centre between 2021 and 2022 after the orders issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, directing Twitter to block access to certain information and suspend multiple accounts from the platform. Many of those accounts were critical of the government during the Farmer protest in India.

In a statement, Twitter claimed that the excessive use of powers used by the government to block accounts, the company has abided by its procedure to provide specific reasons before blocking any accounts since the decision was against their freedom of expression and speech; it did not follow.

Twitter also said, in a government’s order to block the content which was circulating on its platform, the same content was also running on news channels and even printed in the newspapers. Twitter further said, if Twitter had blocked 1200 accounts on its platform even when the same material was appearing in print and TV, then it caused prejudice.

Recently, Twitter owner Elon Musk said in an interview with BBC that in India, social media rules have been extremely strict and it has not been possible for the website to offer the same freedom of speech to Indian users that it has done in the US and other Western countries.

As per the Indian constitution, under section 69A, the Central government or any of its authorised officers reserved power to issue blocking orders to platforms like Twitter on grounds such as the interest of the sovereignty, security of the state, and other national interest.

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Hemant Soren meets PM Modi in Delhi, first meeting after release from jail

He secured bail and became chief minister again on July 4.

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Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday in Delhi. This was his first meeting with the Prime Minister after he was released from jail where he spent around five months.

Taking to X, Jharkhand Chief Minister said that the meeting was a courtesy call. Notably, he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on January 31 this year in connection with a money laundering case related to an alleged land scam.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) executive president had spent around five months in prison, he secured bail and became chief minister again on July 4.

On July 3, JMM leader and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Soren stepped out of the Birsa Munda Jail in Ranchi Friday following the grant of bail by the Jharkhand High Court.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rongon Mukhopadhyay, while granting bail, noted that the Court’s findings satisfy the condition that there exist reasons to believe that Soren is not guilty of the PMLA offence he has been accused of.

Following Soren’s bail on July 3, the outgoing Chief Minister Champai Soren had said that the party alliance decided to elect Hemant Babu (Hemant Soren) as leader, after which he resigned from his post. Champai Soren tendered his resignation to Governor C P Radhakrishnan and soon after Hemant Soren staked a claim to form the government. Soren along with alliance party leaders met the Governor after he reached Ranchi on July 3 evening from outside. Hemant Soren took oath as the 13th Chief Minister of the State on July 4 again.

Meanwhile, earlier today, BJP leader Deepak Prakash claimed that Hemant Soren’s government of 4.5 years has been one that wreaks havoc on the public, one that takes away employment from the youth. Hemant Soren’s government is a synonym for corruption. The government has been involved in a mining scam, a tender scam and one that has brought jungle raj in the state, he added.  

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NDA numbers drop below Rajya Sabha majority mark, can impact passage of bills

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With the completion of the term of four Rajya Sabha MPs, the BJP’s number fell by the same number.

Since the current strength of the Upper House is 225, the BJP’s numbers now stood at 86 and the National Democratic Alliance led by it has 101 members, which is less than the majority mark of 113.

The members whose term ended on Saturday are Rakesh Sinha, Ram Shakal, Mahesh Jethmalani and Sonal Mansingh. They had been chosen by President Droupadi Murmu on the advice of the BJP as non-aligned members and later joined the party cohort.

The Congress-led INDIA bloc has 87 members, the Congress with 26, Trinamool Congress 13, AAP 10, DMK 10. The remaining members are from parties that are not in either camps.

What this means is that the BJP will need the help of other unaligned parties to get bills passed. These range from Tamil Nadu’s AIADMK and the YSRCP and the Biju Janata Dal. Both the governments of the YSRCP and the BJD were voted out in the recent assembly elections.  While the BJD has earlier lent issue based support, it has announced it will not return similar favours now, especially after the BJP won the assembly election.

The AIADMK had split from the NDA ahead late last year in anticipation of the Lok Sabha elections. It had claimed its continuance in the NDA would hurt its Lok Sabha prospects from the state.

Similarly, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi of K Chandrashekhar Rao also can help the BJP. With so much dependent on parties that have bene sidelined in recent polls, the BJP has a bigger job of coralling the numbers in the Upper House than running the NDA coalition, which is purring along since the election victory.

Some 20 seats are vacant in the House and elections to these will fill the total number of Rajya Sabha seats.

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Rahul Gandhi spotted in Delhi pizzeria in viral video while PM Modi, others attend Anant Ambani-Radhika Merchant wedding

Lalu Prasad Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attended the wedding.

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Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, Rahul Gandhi, was spotted at pizzeria restaurant in Delhi, while Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other politicians were attending Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s wedding in Mumbai.

The undated viral video has been shared widely on social media platforms with a claim that the Congress leader did not attend the high-profile wedding of Ambani in the dream city, instead chose to spend time at a Delhi restaurant.

Sharing the video on X, formerly Twitter, wrote that while all the political leaders attended the Ambani family wedding, Rahul Gandhi was at a restaurant ordering pizza.

Visuals shared online show that the Raebareli MP, wearing a light blue t-shirt, sitting across from someone and engaging in a lively chat.

PM Modi attended the “Shubh Aashirwad” ceremony of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Mumbai on Saturday night at the Jio World Convention Centre.

The Ambani family welcomed the Prime Minister and escorted him to the stage. Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant took blessings from the PM.

Before that, the Prime Minister was in Mumbai to lay the foundation stone for multiple projects related to roads, railways, and ports, worth more than Rs 29,400 crore.

Among the prominent leaders who attended the Ambani family wedding ceremony in Mumbai on Saturday were Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Deputy Chief Minister Pawan Kalyan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar.

From the INDIA bloc Samajwadi Party Chief and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, along with his family, was spotted at the ceremony.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also attended the wedding on Friday.

The BJP leader, Smriti Irani, who recently lost her Amethi seat in the Lok Sabha election, was spotted along with her husband, also attending the wedding ceremony.

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