As the Delhi High Court in matters of a plea regarding an offensive political Tweet recently advised, Twitter has to comply with the new Information Technology regulations if they have not been stayed yet. Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to the Centre and social media platform Twitter looking for their stand on a plea by a lawyer, Amit Acharya, alleging 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 altogether has disputed the claim.
Well, to latest update Twitter on Monday acknowledged Delhi High Court that it has hired a Grievance Redressal Officer (GRO) in falling in line with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) guidelines, 2021 (IT Rules). Emerging for the US entity, leading Advocate Sajan Poovayya submitted before Justice Rekha Palli that by a letter dated May 28, a GRO has been allotted by Twitter Inc.
The hearing on Monday saw Justice Palli also verbally monitor that as long as the IT Rules are set, they must be complied with. “I am inclined to issue notice, if the rules are there, as long as they are not stayed…they have to follow it. It is very simple, if the rules are there, there is no choice, you have to (comply with it)”, she said. As a response to this, Senior Advocate Poovayya stated,
“Absolutely, there is no question. Without a stay, I have to comply. The Resident Grievance Officer has now been appointed and that appointment happened by a letter of 28th of May. I will place it on affidavit.”
The Court was hearing a plea regarding grievance that the Twitter GRO’s particulars could not be found when a complaint was required to be made against certain offensive tweets by Trinamool Congress Party member and Member of Parliament, Mahua Moitra and Journalist Swati Chaturvedi. On May 25th, Ms Moitra had posted a tweet in support of Twitter’s move of labeling Sambit Patra’s tweet over toolkit line as ‘manipulated media’. “Welcome to our Susu Potty Republic! Drink Gaumutra, smear cow dung & flush the rule of law down the toilet. Delhi Police issue notice to Twitter & land up in their offices for rightly calling out BJP’s fake document as manipulated media. Go figure,” her tweet said. “If Bobde had been Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Modi would have been able to appoint his favourite Gujarat IPS official Rakesh Asthana. What a huge difference a CJI who follows the law makes”, she had written the next day.
The petitioner sought to lodge a grievance against such tweets. However, he was not able to find the required contact details about the designated GRO on the Twitter website as per rule 3 (2) of the IT regulation. Calling it an obvious breach of his statutory right to file a complaint under the new IT rules, he moved to the Delhi High Court looking for directions to get GRO as needed under the delegated legislation. Experienced advocate Sajan Poovaya appearing for the US-based firm confirmed the appointment of a Grievance Redressal Officer (GRO) as required under the new rules.
“As on the date of filing this petition, the rules were not complied. Subsequently, they have been, I will file it on affidavit”,
Poovayya stated throughout the hearing. Allowing Twitter’s counsell time to file his affidavit in this regard, Justice Rekha Palli issued a notice and made it clear that the new IT rules have to be complied with until they are stayed.
The matter is slated for hearing on July 6.