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No interim protection for Twitter, Centre free to act: Delhi HC

IANS | July 08, 2021 10:39 PM

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that there is no interim protection for Twitter and the Centre is free to take any action if the micro-blogging site breaches the new IT rules.

A bench of Justice Rekha Palli said: "It is made clear that since this court has not passed any interim order, this court has granted time to Respondent No 2 (Twitter Inc) to file affidavit, no protection is granted."

The court added that it is open to Centre to take action against Twitter in case of any breach of the rules, as it adjourned the hearing in the matter till July 28.

Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, appearing for Twitter, submitted that it was not seeking any protection either. He added that the consequence of non-compliance is that the protection to intermediaries falls off and added he would get notarised affidavit from the US, and it would require some time.

The court also granted two weeks' time to Twitter for filing a notarised affidavit of a competent official of Twitter Inc.

The court was informed by Twitter's counsel that an interim chief compliance officer (CCO) has been appointed, which will be followed by an interim resident grievance officer (RGO) by July and interim nodal contact officer will be appointed within two weeks.

On July 6, the high court had directed Twitter to inform it by July 8, when it will appoint an RGO in compliance with the new IT rules.

The court said the usage of "interim" would not lessen the responsibilities imposed on these officers to ensure compliance with the new IT Rules. Poovayya contended that since Twitter was in the process of setting up a liaison office in India, it could not appoint "permanent employees". He clarified that interim does not take away the responsibility of the officer under the rules.

Earlier, Twitter has informed the Delhi High Court that it will take eight weeks to appoint an RGO and a CCO in compliance with the new IT Rules, and it is in a process of setting up a liaison office in India, which will be its permanent physical contact address. However, Twitter said it reserves the right to challenge the new IT Rules.

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