Delhi HC slaps Twitter with notice for flouting IT Rules
The Delhi High Court issued a notice to Twitter on Monday for failing to comply to the recently-enforced Information Technology guidelines encompassing social media platforms. Twitter now has three weeks to issue a reply, with the next hearing on the matter being scheduled on July 6. The decision comes in response to a Delhi High Court plea filed by advocate Amit Acharya.
The High Court bench of Justice Rekha Palli has also issued a similar notice to the government after Acharya discovered that Twitter is not in compliance with the new IT rules for digital media that went into effect from May 25. The plea urges the High Court to instruct the Centre to ensure Twitter's compliance with Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021.
Advocate Acharya's plea underscores the fact that Twitter is a Significant Social Media Intermediary (SSMI) as per the IT Rules, 2021, which mandates it to appoint a resident grievance officer to comply with the aforementioned rule. The Centre had given all SSMIs such as Twitter three months from February 2021 to comply with its regulations. The plea argues that the microblogging site hasn't.
Twitter's counsel, however, argued that it had appointed a resident grievance officer on May 28, which was disputed by the government's counsel. The petitioner also echoed the latter's opinion, claiming that he couldn't find any details pertaining to Twitter's grievance officer while trying to lodge a complaint against "defamatory, false and untrue tweets" made by two individuals.
Earlier last week, Twitter issued reservations against the IT Rules, 2021 claiming they are a "potential threat" to freedom of speech. The company's Delhi offices were also raided by the Delhi Police in a separate matter. Meanwhile, WhatsApp had taken the smarter alternative to Twitter's non-compliance, by suing the government while claiming the new media rules violate the Indian citizen's constitutional privacy rights.