Twitter not complying with IT Rules 2021, Govt tells Court Delhi High Court was informed that Twitter is handling grievances from India by a person based in the US Indian authorities have reiterated that the social media platform Twitter is not entitled to any protection due to its willful defiance to follow the laid down rules. In an affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of...
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Twitter not complying with IT Rules 2021, Govt tells Court
Delhi High Court was informed that Twitter is handling grievances from India by a person based in the US
Indian authorities have reiterated that the social media platform Twitter is not entitled to any protection due to its willful defiance to follow the laid down rules.
In an affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), the Delhi High Court was told that Twitter was not complying with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021), given the fact that the person appointed to deal with grievances that arise in India is residing in the US.
"In spite of the three months' time granted to all SSMIs to comply with the IT Rules 2021 having expired on 26.05.2021, Respondent No. 2 (Twitter) has failed to fully comply with the same," the affidavit stated.
The affidavit was filed in response to a plea filed by one Amit Acharya before the Delhi High Court. Acharya had sought action against some Twitter users for their tweets on a video from Ghaziabad showing a Muslim man being assaulted.
Acharya complained to the court that he could find only the contact details of a grievance officer based in the US when he tried to register a complaint. He sought the court direction to Twitter to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer as mandated under Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021.
Acharya had earlier lodged a complaint against Twitter India's Manish Maheshwari, actress Swara Bhasker, journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani and Mohammed Asif Khan for their tweets on the video in question with the Delhi Police.
The MEITY further informed the Delhi High Court that since Twitter fell under the scope of a Significant Social Media Intermediary (SSMI), it is obligated to comply with the provisions of the IT Rules, 2021.
"Rule 7 provides that when an intermediary fails to observe these Rules, the provisions of section 79 (1) will not be available and the intermediary shall be liable for any punishment under any law for the time being in force in respect of the offending content," the affidavit stated.
The affidavit listed various points to establish Twitter's non-compliance with the IT Rules, 2021. These included non-appointment of Chief Compliance Officer, the Resident Grievance Officer's post remaining vacant, not naming a Nodal Contact Person (even on an interim basis) and unavailability of the physical contact address.
It informed the court that while the physical contact address, which was shown to be there until 29 May 2021, had once again been removed on Twitter's website.
The affidavit concluded by stating that Twitter will not be protected under the safe harbour protections under the Information Technology Act if it continued to be in non-compliance with the IT Rules, 2021.