The high court is hearing a petition challenging a series of blocking orders issued by the Union government from February 2, 2021 till February 28, 2022
The Union government has submitted before the High Court of Karnataka that Twitter’s significantly low compliance rate with blocking directions has led to the issuance of show cause notice.
In a detailed statement of objections in the petition filed by Twitter, the Union government has said that the show-cause notices reveal that Twitter is a habitual non-complaint platform.
The high court is hearing a petition challenging a series of blocking orders issued by the Union government from February 2, 2021 till February 28, 2022. The orders issued by the ministry of electronics and information technology had directed Twitter to block for access by the public certain information, which include suspension of multiple accounts on Twitter.
In the statement of objections, the Centre has stated that being a foreign entity Twitter does not have any rights to challenge blocking directions. “The intermediary as per the scheme of the IT (Information Technology) Act has no right or locus, at all, to take up the case of its users against any orders passed by the competent authority under Section 69A of the Act or else it loses its safe harbour protection,” the Centre said.
The statement of objection also said that Twitter is neither the ‘Citizen of India’ nor a ‘natural person’ hence, the protection of Article 19 or under Article 14 and 21 is not available.
The statement gave several examples for delayed compliance by Twitter on the blocking directions. The statement said that a blocking direction was issued against an account – @savukku – on March 16, 2021, for ‘national security’ related reasons. Twitter blocked the account only after the final notice was issued on June 27, 2022. The statement said subsequently Madras High Court initiated a suo motu contempt proceeding against the very handle for posting defamatory comments against judges and judiciary and the same is pending.