The Delhi High Court on Monday slammed Twitter for not voluntarily taking action against an account that allegedly published objectionable content about a Hindu goddess, saying the US-based micro-blogging platform was based on “other regions” and ethnicity. Wasn’t bothered about the sensitivity of the people. ,
The High Court cited the permanent suspension of former US President Donald Trump’s account and said Twitter’s stance that it “cannot block any person” and that it cannot take action against alleged objectionable content in the absence of a court order , “not entirely correct”.
A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi, which was hearing a plea against an allegedly objectionable post on Maa Kali by user ‘ethist republic’, directed Twitter to explain that it was not the first to block the accounts. How does it work? It noted that there were instances of some individuals being blocked on the platform and commented that if such an incident happened in relation to any other religion, the social media platform would have been more careful and sensitive.
“It ultimately boils down to whether you will block people you feel sensitive to content. You are not concerned about the sensitivities of other people of other races, in other regions of the world. We dare to say that if such things are done in relation to another religion, you will be more careful, more sensitive,” said the bench also comprising Justice Navin Chawla.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Twitter, said that it has removed the objectionable material in the present case and an FIR has been registered in relation to the post.
He said Twitter “cannot block any person” and cannot take action against allegedly objectionable content in the absence of a court order.
“If that’s the argument then why have you blocked Mr (Donald) Trump?” The court questioned and observed that prima facie the stand of Twitter that it cannot block the account was “not entirely correct”.
Twitter said in January 2021 that it had permanently suspended the account of then US President Donald Trump, citing “the risk of further inciting violence” following the storming of the US Capitol.
The High Court observed that since Twitter had not objected to the court’s earlier prima facie view with regard to removal of the allegedly objectionable content in the present case, the social media platform should have taken action on its own when more objectionable content was reported. was pointed to. ,
“Since Respondent No. 3 (Twitter) has not questioned the prima facie view of the Court with regard to the nature of the content, the posts mentioned by the Petitioner, without waiting for the hearing of Respondent No. 3, today, December 9, should be removed. , early 2021,” the court said.
“We may take note of the fact that Respondent No. 3 has blocked the account of certain persons from time to time. We direct Respondent No. 3 to present the policy before the Court and the circumstances under which he did such action taken,” the court said as it noted the framework for social media intermediaries under relevant information technology rules.
Central government counsel Harish Vaidyanathan said there is a process to block Twitter accounts against which complaints are received.
The court directed the Center to examine the material in the present case and decide whether action to block the account is required under the Information Technology Act.
The court further directed Twitter, Central Government as well as Atheist Republic to record their response to the petitioner and took on record the undertaking of the Twitter user that in the meantime, he would not post any such objectionable material. It also asked the account holder to record details relating to his position, location, presence of any place of business and authorized representative in India in an affidavit.
AtheistRepublic’s lawyer said its account could not be blocked without a hearing.
Petitioner Aditya Singh Deshwal said the Twitter user should be blocked for posting “ridiculous content against all religions” and being a habitual offender.
In October last year, the court had observed that Twitter would respect the sentiments of the general public as it was doing business for them and asked it to remove some objectionable content related to the Hindu goddess from its platform.
The petitioner had claimed that Maa Kali was represented by atheist republic in a derogatory and derogatory manner and such content is in serious violation of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Code of Conduct) Rules, 2021 and is in violation of the rules. But Twitter loses its legal immunity provided under the Information Technology Act.
The next hearing of the case will be on September 6.
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