A petition has been filed before the Delhi High Court against an order of the Director General of Military Intelligence, requiring all personnel in the Indian Army to delete Facebook, Instagram and 87 other social media applications.The petition has been filed by a serving lieutenant colonel, who is finding it difficult to connect with his family which resides outside India, in the absence of access to social media.
He has submitted that he uses his Facebook account responsibly in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Indian Army from time to time, and he 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.
“Soldiers rely on social networking platforms like Facebook to address various issues arising in their families while posted in remote locations and often use the virtual connect to compensate for the physical distance existing between themselves and their families,” the plea stated.
It is contended that the ban violates various fundamental rights of the Petitioner under the Constitution, including the right to freedom of speech and expression and right to privacy, whereas the power to modify fundamental rights of members of army rests with the Parliament alone.
The plea has been filed through Advocates Shivank Pratap Singh and Sanandika Pratap Singh.
The Petitioner has therefore prayed the High Court to direct the Respondent to withdraw its “draconian” Policy dated June 6, 2020, to the extent it precludes the army personnel from using social media or requires them to delete their accounts.
He has also sought a declaration that Director General of Military Intelligence is not empowered under the constitution or under any other law to modify, amend or abrogate the fundamental rights of the members of the armed forces.
The matter is listed for hearing tomorrow.