Delhi High Court issues notice to Twitter for not accepting new IT rules

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to microblogging social media platform Twitter for not following the new information technology (IT) rules.

A bench comprising Justice Rekha Palli gave Twitter three weeks to respond and set the matter for further hearing on July 6.

The court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Amit Acharya, who accused Twitter of not following the Information Technology (Intermediate Guidelines and Code of Digital Conduct) Rule 2021, which came into force on May 25.

The new guidelines require social media companies such as Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook and Google to regulate their content, appoint complaint officers who will be responsible for complaints, and adopt measures such as the detection of personal messages and voluntary user verification.

Senior advocate Sajan Poovaya, appearing on Twitter, told the court that on May 28, a Resident Grievance Officer had been appointed.

The government’s lawyer Ripudaman Bhardwaj opposed this stance. The petitioner told the court that he came to know about Twitter not being the complainant when he went to file a complaint against some tweets.

Recently a war of words broke out between Twitter and the Center over the new IT rules, with Twitter stating that it would continue to advocate changes to elements of these rules that prevent free, open public dialogue.

On May 25, Twitter went to India’s office to give notice to the Delhi Police Company in a case. Twitter had issued a statement expressing “concern” for its employees in India and a possible threat to freedom of expression for the people. In response, the Center accused Twitter of making baseless and false allegations and stipulating conditions to defame India, the world’s largest democracy.

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Other social media platforms such as WhatsApp have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court alleging that the new rules violate the fundamental right to privacy. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that Google advocates free and open internet. He added that the company respects local legal procedures, but can back down if necessary.

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