New Delhi, Jul 6 (ILNS)The Delhi High Court today has expressed its displeasure over Twitter Inc. for non-implementation of IT Ministry Guidelines by not appointing the “Grievance Officer” while it opined Twitter is in clear violation of IT Rules 2021 and asked it to respond by July 8.
A single-judge bench headed by Justice Rekha Palli asked Twitter to comply with the rules and be ready with its reply before the next date.
During the hearing today, Sajan Poovayya, Senior Counsel for Twitter Inc, submitted that in compliance with the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, Twitter has appointed an interim Redressal Grievance Officer, who, however, withdrew his consent on June 21 and thereafter, Twitter is in the process of appointing a new Redressal Grievance Officer.
The Court in its order recorded, “When queried as to what is the time-frame within which the process claimed to have been undertaken by Twitter likely to be completed, Mr Poovayya prayed for time to obtain clear instructions.”
“ASG Mr Sharma appearing on behalf of the Centre submitted that the said IT Rules were notified on February 25, 2021 and that Twitter is in clear breach of the said IT Rules. Mr G Tushar Rao, Sr. Counsel, requested that Twitter be directed to appoint other officers as well including the Nodal Officer and also to work out a redressal mechanism,” noted the Court.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has filed its reply in a pending plea alleging that Twitter has not complied with the Centre’s IT Rules. The Affidavit has been filed by N. Samaya Balan of the Cyber Law Group with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. According to the affidavit (MeitY) in the exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1), clauses (z) and (zg) of subsection (2) of section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000), and in superstition of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011, notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 on 25th February 2021 in the Official Gazette.
Twitter admittedly qualifies as a significant Social Media Intermediary (“SSMI”) as defined under Rule 2(1) (v) of the IT Rules 2021 hence Twitter is obligated to comply with the provisions of the IT Rules, 2021 and the compliance’s set out therein. Rule 3 provides for various due diligence obligations to be followed by all intermediaries to avail exemptions from liability as mandated under section 79(1) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Rule 4 provides for additional due diligence to be complied with by SSMIs, said the affidavit.
It has further stated that the Government of India notified the IT Rules, 2021 on February 25, 2021 the threshold limit of a number of registered users for an intermediary to qualify as an SSMI was notified. That a sufficient period of three months from this date, i.e. from February 26, 2021 was granted to all SSMIs to comply with the additional due diligence set out under Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021. Thus, from May 26, 2021 onward, all SSMIs are mandatorily required to comply with the obligations set out in Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021./ILNS/SNG