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If IT rules not stayed, they have to be complied with, Delhi HC to Twitter

The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice on a plea against the non-compliance by Twitter India and Twitter Inc with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021).

A bench of Justice Rekha Palli said:”I am inclined to issue notice. If the rules have not been stayed, then they have to comply with the rules.” The plea moved by advocate Amit Acharya urged the High Court to issue direction to the Centre to pass necessary instruction to Twitter India and Twitter Inc to appoint resident grievance officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 without any delay. The High Court issued notice to the Centre and social media platform Twitter seeking their stand on the plea.

The counsel for Twitter submitted that the rules were not complied when the petition was filed but now, we have complied. The counsel added that resident grievance officer was appointed on May 28 and agree to file a reply in the matter.

The court said the petition is related to compliance of IT Rules, 2021 and issued notice. The court listed for further hearing on July 6. Advocate Akash Vajpai, representing the petitioner, submitted that the appointment is not according with the IT Rules.

The court noted that Twitter submitted that a resident grievance officers has been appointed on May 28, 2021, and its counsel seeks to file a short reply and time is granted for 3 weeks.

Another counsel for the petitioner contended that they submitted a resident grievance officer has been appointed, but we don’t know if they’ve appointed it as per law. The bench replied told the counsel not to interject, just for the need of interjecting. “That’s why I am issuing notice and not disposing the plea”, said the court.

The plea contended that Twitter is a “Significant Social Media Intermediary” (SSMI) as laid down under the IT Rules, 2021 and therefore must ensure compliance with the statutory duties imposed upon it by the provisions of these rules”.

The plea contended that in a nutshell, every significant social media intermediary has responsibility not only to appoint a resident grievance officer who will act as single point authority for receiving and disposing of complaints within fixed time but will also receive and acknowledge any order, notice and direction issued by the competent authorities.

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