Twitter Must Comply: Delhi High Court Upholds Plea on New IT Rules

While Twitter claimed before the court that it has complied with the rules and appointed a resident grievance officer, the central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj disputed the claim saying Twitter has not complied.

New Delhi: Amid a row over the new Information Technology Rules (IT Rules 2021) issued by the Centre for social media platforms, the Delhi High Court has asked Twitter to comply with the new guidelines for digital media. Justice Rekha Palli, hearing the matter on Monday, issued notice to the Centre and micro-blogging platform Twitter seeking their stand on a plea by a lawyer, Amit Acharya, claiming non-compliance of the rules by it.

While Twitter claimed before the court that it has complied with the rules and appointed a resident grievance officer, the central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj disputed the claim saying Twitter has not complied.

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“They have to follow it (rules) if it has not been stayed,” the court said.

In his plea, filed through advocate Akash Vajpai and Manish Kumar, Acharya said that he came to know about the alleged non-compliance when he tried to lodge a complaint against a couple of tweets.

Acharya, in his plea, said that the new IT Rules took effect from February 25 and the Centre had given three months to every social media intermediary, including Twitter, to comply with them.

Centre contended that the three-month period got over on May 25, but no resident grievance officer was appointed by Twitter to deal with complaints regarding tweets on its platform.

The petition has sought a direction to Twitter to appoint a resident grievance officer without further delay. It has also sought a direction to the Centre to ensure that the IT rules are complied with.

Twitter had recently said it was committed to India as a vital market, but criticised the new IT rules and regulations, saying they “inhibit free, open public conversation”. The Centre had responded that the social media platform was levelling baseless and false allegations to defame India and dictating terms to the world’s largest democracy.

The Centre alleged that Twitter refused to comply with new digital rules requiring identification of the originator of a flagged message and appointing grievance redressal officers and the purported commitment of the US-based firm to India not only sounds hollow but completely self-serving.

Under the new digital rules, social media companies like Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have been asked to identify within 36 hours the originator of a flagged message as well as conduct additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.

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