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Law Of Land Supreme, Twitter Will Have to Follow Rules, Says IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Earlier today, Twitter informed the Delhi High Court that it will take another eight weeks to appoint a resident grievance officer (RGO) in compliance with the new IT Rules.
New Delhi: Newly appointed Information and Technology minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Thursday, after taking charge of the office, underlined that the law of the land is supreme, and Twitter will have to comply with new social media and intermediary guidelines. “Whoever is a citizen of India and those who stay in India will have to abide by the laws of the country,” he said.
Earlier today, Twitter informed the Delhi High Court that it will take another eight weeks to appoint a resident grievance officer (RGO) in compliance with the new IT Rules. In an affidavit in the Delhi HC, the company said that it was in the process of setting up a liaison office in India.
Twitter’s Reply To Delhi High Court:
In its reply to Delhi High Court, Twitter said, “The company will take 8 weeks to comply with the appointment of the resident grievance redressal officer. The company is also in the process of setting up a liaison office in India. The liaison office in India will be the permanent physical contact address for all communication under the new IT Rules.”
Twitter also mentioned that the first compliance report under the new IT Rules can be expected by July 11. “Twitter is engaged in performing a commercial activity and the contract between the user and Twitter is towards the advancement of the commercial agenda of the company.”
Delhi High Court’s Direction To Twitter:
The Delhi High Court had on Tuesday directed Twitter to inform it by July 8 as to when it will appoint a resident grievance officer (RGO) in compliance with the new IT Rules after the microblogging platform submitted that it was in the process of doing so.
A bench of Justice Rekha Palli told Twitter’s counsel, “Come up with a clear response, otherwise you will be in trouble”, and sought information on Twitter’s compliance with other provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) by the next date of hearing.
The high court told central government counsel: “We are not stopping you from taking action, court has not granted any protection to Twitter. If they are in violation, you know what to do.”
The Centre submitted that Twitter India is in clear violation of IT Rules,2021. The Centre had informed the Delhi High Court that Twitter has failed to comply with the IT Rules, 2021 as on July 1, on four counts:
Chief compliance officer not being appointed; The position of the resident grievance officer being vacant; The position of the nodal contact person (even on an interim basis) being vacant; and
The physical contact address, which was shown to be there on May 29, was not available on Twitter’s website. The central government counsel submitted before the court that Twitter was given three-month window to comply with IT Rules, but they did not.
The counsel added that they are most welcome to do business in India, but they have to comply. The bench said, “I am not giving them any protection. I have already made it clear that they have to comply.”
Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya, representing Twitter India, submitted that an interim grievance officer was appointed, but he had withdrawn his candidature on June 21. The bench responded that after June 21, and till July 6, the least it could have done was appoint another person.
“How long does your process take? If Twitter thinks it can take as long it wants in our country, I will not allow that,” said the bench.