The Delhi High Court on July 28 pulled up social media giant Twitter over its non-compliance with new Information Technology (IT) rules that came into effect in May this year.
As the new digital rules require social media intermediaries to appoint grievance, compliance, and nodal officers who must be residents of India, the court slammed Twitter over its appointment of “contingent” grievance and compliance officers.
The high court said that the affidavit filed by the microblogging site reveals appointments of the officers are mere “contingent” in nature. Twitter gives the impression that a third-party contractor has been hired for the roles, the court noted.
It also said, “Things were better off with Twitter having appointed an “interim” officer, what does Twitter mean by “contingent”.
As the court held Twitter’s affidavit unacceptable, it said if the social media firm wants to comply with new IT rules, it should do it wholeheartedly.
The court added that Twitter is making so much money from the Indian market and yet it has not complied with IT rules. “We are giving Twitter a long rope, we don’t want third-party contractors,” it said.
The high court came down hard on the social media giant and said, “Why should Twitter not be held to be in contempt of court, IT rules clearly prescribe the officers should be employees? Appointments by Twitter are in the teeth of the rules. There must be some seriousness.”
Meanwhile, the Centre reiterated in the court that IT rules require the compliance officer and grievance officer to be an employee of the firm. It said that Twitter has admitted that the person appointed as a compliance officer is a contract worker.
“There is abject non-compliance with rules, it has been months, logical consequences must follow,” the Centre said and accused Twitter of repeated non-compliance with rules by using word-play in courts.
The rift between the central government and Twitter has been on since India's new IT rules became effective in end-May. The rules are aimed at regulating content on social media firms and making them more accountable to legal requests for swift removal of posts and sharing details on the originators of messages.
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)
First Published: IST