05 Jul 2021: IT Rules law of the land; Twitter must comply: Centre
Twitter needs to "mandatorily" comply with the new IT Rules, which are the "law of the land," the central government told the Delhi High Court. The Centre told the court that Twitter has failed to comply with the new regulations and that has resulted in the microblogging platform losing the immunity granted to it as a social media intermediary. Here are more details.
Court: Centre filed affidavit in plea against Twitter
The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) submitted an affidavit in a plea filed in the Delhi HC by one Amit Acharya. Acharya's plea sought action against Twitter users for their "objectionable tweets" on a video from Ghaziabad showing a Muslim man being assaulted. Acharya's plea stated that he only found the contact details of a grievance officer in the United States.
Violation: Petitioner cited lack of resident grievance officer
The plea argued that Twitter is required to appoint a resident grievance officer as mandated under Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021. Notably, Twitter had appointed an interim grievance officer—Bengaluru-based Dharmendra Chatur—who resigned from the position on June 21. The Centre's affidavit said that, as of July 1, Twitter had failed to comply with the IT Rules on four grounds.
Fact: Which reasons did Centre cite for Twitter's non-compliance?
Twitter has not appointed a chief compliance officer, the Centre highlighted. The positions of the resident grievance office and the nodal contact person are also vacant, it said. The physical contact address—visible on May 29—was once again "not visible" on Twitter's website, it added.
Twitter’s arguments: Twitter argued last week that petition was not maintainable
In a reply last week, Twitter had told the court that Chatur withdrew his candidature as interim grievance officer on June 21. It further argued that the writ petition was not maintainable under Article 226 since Twitter is registered in the US. Neither the originator, nor the publisher of the electronics records is transmitted through its communication system or platform, Twitter had argued.
Twitter’s arguments: 'If petitioner is aggrieved by tweets, why aren't authors impleaded?'
Twitter argued that the ground of Acharya's plea is "incorrect, and denied." The complaint has been considered and disposed of since the time of filing the petition, it said. Twitter argued that while the petitioner claimed to be aggrieved by the tweets, the authors of the alleged objectionable tweets haven't been impleaded as respondents, hence, the petitioner cannot seek any relief directly or indirectly.
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