New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Supreme Court on Friday warned that the central and state governments cannot take action against those citizens communicating their grievances over shortage of hospital beds and medical oxygen on social media amid the unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases across the country.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that it will treat any clamp down on COVID-19 information as contempt of court, adding that directions should be issued to all DGPs of states in this regard.

The bench, which also included Justices L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bhat, said that there should not be any presumption that grievances raised on internet by citizens are false, adding that the country should hear their voices.

"I flag this issue at the outset. We want to make it very clear that if citizens communicate their grievance on social media and internet then it cannot be said its wrong information. We don't want any clampdown of information. We will treat it as a contempt of court if such grievances is considered for action," the top court said, as reported by Bar and Bench.

India has been battling the second wave of COVID-19 that has led to an alarming spike in coronavirus cases across the country. Several citizens amid this have complained about the shortage of oxygen cylinders and hospital beds on social media platforms.

Amid this, a US media report claimed that the government has asked Facebook and Twitter to remove content that was critical of the handling of the current medical crisis or spreading fake news around the pandemic.

However, the government has dismissed the report, calling it "misleading and mischievous". Later, Facebook also clarified that it had removed a certain hashtag calling for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's resignation from its platform by "mistake".

"We temporarily blocked this hashtag by mistake, not because the Indian government asked us to, and have since restored it," the social media giant said.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma