The Delhi High Court on 6 July gave an earful to the social media giant Twitter over non-compliance with the new information and technology guidelines of the government. “If Twitter thinks that they can take as much time as it wants in our country, then I will not permit that. You should have taken some firm steps to appoint the officer,” the high court said.
Justice Rekha Palli said that Twitter, represented by senior counsel Sajjan Poovaya, had misled the court and given the wrong impression that it had appointed a resident grievance officer mandated under the new IT rules. “This is a very serious, interesting position. You did not tell the court that you appointed an interim officer. The rules are binding on you,” the court said.
“You have misled the court… gave a wrong impression. Be that as it may, the least Twitter can do was appoint another officer after 21 June. We are concerned with the compliance,” it said.
This came in response to the affidavit by Twitter which had said that it had appointed an interim resident grievance officer on 29 May, however, he resigned on 21 June.
The union government on 5 July accused Twitter of failing to comply with the IT rules, which the Centre described as the “law of the land”.
“In spite of three months’ time granted to all significant social media intermediaries to comply with the IT Rules, 2021, Twitter Inc has failed to comply with the same,” the union government said in its affidavit in the high court.
During the proceedings, Sajjan Poovaya, a senior advocate appearing for Twitter, said that he could not contact the company’s officials in San Francisco due to the difference in the time zone. Following this, the court gave Twitter time till Thursday to inform as to by when they can appoint the grievance officers.
The judge asked Twitter to take instructions on the compliance of the other guidelines of the IT rules saying that at least the progress and steps should be known to everyone. “Get clear instructions or you will be in trouble,” she said.
Additional solicitor general Chetan Sharma told the court that the attitude of Twitter in not complying with the IT rules cocks a snook in the digital sovereignty of the country. “Forty-two days and no compliance and we have done nothing. Facebook has removed three crore content. Twitter could have done better,” Sharma said.