IT ministry voices concern before the High Court on social media platforms Justice V Kameswar Rao had earlier issued a notice to Twitter and Meta on the petition filed by Wokeflix The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has told the Delhi High Court that action taken by social media platforms against accounts should be proportionate to the offending content....
Access the exclusive LEGAL ERAStories,Editorial and Expert Opinion
IT ministry voices concern before the High Court on social media platforms
Justice V Kameswar Rao had earlier issued a notice to Twitter and Meta on the petition filed by Wokeflix
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has told the Delhi High Court that action taken by social media platforms against accounts should be proportionate to the offending content. Also, taking down the account should be the last resort after everything fails.
It was pleading the case before Justice Yashwant Varma.
In an affidavit filed before the court, MEITY said that social media platforms should respect the fundamental rights of the citizens and not resort to an outright ban of an account only if some portion of the content was unlawful.
The affidavit read, "If only some portions or contents are unlawful, the platform may take proportionate action of removing such alleged information alone and not completely suspend the user's account. The platform may give prior notice to the user and seek removal of the specific content that violates the platform's policies under the Information Technology Rules, 2021."
It further emphasized that only in the case where most of the content was unlawful the social media companies must take down the account. "Liberty and freedom of any individual cannot be waylaid or jettisoned in the slipstream of social and technological advancement," it said.
The affidavit was filed in response to a plea by political satire handle, Wokeflix challenging the decision of the social media platforms Twitter and Meta (parent company of Instagram) to disable/suspend its accounts.
In early March, Justice V Kameswar Rao had issued a notice to Twitter, Meta and the Central government on the petition filed by Wokeflix after its Twitter and Instagram accounts had been suspended. Meanwhile, the court had received more such cases related to the ban of accounts by social media companies.
The Central government in its affidavit said that social media companies were duty-bound to protect the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India. Meanwhile, Wokeflix maintained it was not given the opportunity to present its case before suspending the account.
The government underscored that a social media company could not be allowed to go unchecked under the legal framework.
The affidavit further stated, "The social media intermediaries must be held accountable for subjugating and supplanting the fundamental rights including the freedom of speech and expression, otherwise the same would have dire consequences for any democratic nation."
The matter has been listed for final disposal on April 13.