'Quit Army If Facebook Is Dearer To You Than Duty': Delhi HC Tells Officer Seeking Withdrawal Of 89 Apps

Lieutenant Colonel PK Choudhary, had approached the high court claiming the ban on apps including Facebook, Instagram is 'arbitrary and unconstitutional'.

Delhi   |   15 July 2020 12:35 PM GMT / Updated : 2020-07-15T18:09:49+05:30
Writer : Devyani Madaik | Editor : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Creatives : Abhishek M
Quit Army If Facebook Is Dearer To You Than Duty: Delhi HC Tells Officer Seeking Withdrawal Of 89 Apps

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday has asked the Indian Army officer, who had filed a petition challenging the Army's new policy banning 89 social media platforms, to either abide by the mandate or resign from the service.

A bench of Justices R S Endlaw and Asha Menon said it had not found a reason to entertain the plea, and the stay cannot be granted on matters of national security.

"You please delete...You can always create a new one. It cannot work like this. You are part of an organisation. You have to abide by its mandate," the bench orally observed. "If you are so dear to Facebook, then put in your papers," The Hindustan Times reported.

Lieutenant Colonel PK Choudhary, had approached the high court claiming the ban on apps including Facebook, Instagram as 'arbitrary and unconstitutional', stating that it violates fundamental rights provided under the constitution.

Shivank Pratap Singh, Choudhary's lawyer said that the order will compromise privacy and data rights. Choudhary approached the court to allow him to retain his Facebook account in deactivated form, as removing the account will delete all his valuable data.

The plea also sought directions to the Director-General of Military Intelligence to withdraw its June 6 order of banning the 89 social media platforms.

Choudhary at the outset of his petition noted that Facebook has been a crucial tool for soldiers, whose conditions of life take a great physical and mental toll on them, and the social media app helps them to connect with family and acquaintances in the absence of opportunities for physical interaction.

Solicitor general on behalf of the Centre, Chetan Sharma while opposing the plea stated that the decision was taken because the apps were found to have a bug and were infiltrating as cyber warfare.

The HC clearly said that the officer had a choice to make, either to delete the apps listed in the mandate or leave the armed force. The court said that a new account can be created later when the ban is uplifted, and up till then, other modes of communication like WhatsApp, Twitter and Skype are available to him to connect with family.

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