Telangana High Court on Monday issued notices to Central and State governments in a PIL petition seeking direction to them to ensure social media giant Twitter stopped trending of posts linking religion to coronavirus pandemic.

A division bench of Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B. Vijaysen Reddy directed Advocate General B.S. Prasad and Assistant Solicitor General N. Rajeshwar Rao to file counter affidavits in four weeks.

A lawyer Khaja Aijazuddin filed the plea stating that some individuals were posting content on Twitter connecting Islam with COVID-19.

Using the hashtags like #Islamiccoronavirusjihad, #Coronajihad, #Tablighijamat, #Nizamuddidnin and TablighiJamatVirus, posts were placed on Twitter, the lawyer stated. These ‘Islamophobic’ posts were not only hurting religious sentiments of Muslims but also had potential to disturb communal harmony in the country, he contended.

The petitioner requested the court to instruct the governments to ensure along with the Twitter all other online and social media platforms do not circulate any content connecting religion with coronavirus pandemic. He also pleaded that criminal cases be registered against all persons posting such content online.

Mr. Aijazuddin told the court that he had sent representations through email to the Central and State governments, along with Twitter, requesting them to act against persons trying to create trouble by posting such objectionable content.

‘Waive power bills’

The bench had also issued notices to the State government, Electricity Regulatory Commission and Power Distribution Companies in two PIL pleas seeking to waive off power bills of all domestic consumers for the months of March, April and May. The petitioners contended that the electricity bills were inflated.

They claimed that the bills charged exorbitant amounts from the consumers without any justification.

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