Social Media

Reserve right to challenge new IT Rules, Twitter tells Delhi HC

Poornima Joshi New Delhi | Updated on July 08, 2021

The immunity of safe harbour is provided under Section 79(1) of the IT Act   -  REUTERS

Micro-blogging site lists steps taken thus far to comply with the rules

Twitter on Thursday sought time till July 11 to file a compliance report consistent with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. But while it listed steps taken thus far to comply with the rules, Twitter maintained that it reserves its right to challenge the legality, validity and vires of the rules and its submissions regarding compliance are without prejudice to its right to challenge the rules.

The High Court reiterated that Twitter has no interim protection if the Centre decides to take action for its breach of the new IT rules. “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 an affidavit, no protection is granted. It is open to the Centre to take action against the Respondent No 2 in case of any breach of the rules,” said Justice Rekha Palli who is hearing the matter.

No safe harbour immunity

While the Centre, on its part, has already told the High Court that Twitter is no longer eligible for safe harbour immunity, Twitter has responded by saying that the company is already facing multiple prosecutions and is protected by no immunity.

In its submission to the Court’s inquiry in the last hearing about what Twitter has done thus far to comply with the new IT rules, Twitter listed out steps that it has taken to appoint Chief Compliance Officer under Rule 4(1)(a), Nodal Contact Person under Rule 4(1)(b), Resident Grievance Officer under Rule 4(1)(c), have a physical contact address under Rule4(5) and maintained that it will file a compliance report as required under Rule4(1)(d) by July 11.

Interim CCO appointed

Twitter reported that it has appointed an Indian resident as its interim Chief Compliance Officer (“Interim CCO”) effective from July 6 as a contingent worker via a third-party contractor while it has simultaneously posted publicly a job announcement for a Chief Compliance Officer as a direct employee and is accepting applications at this time.

The micro-blogging site told the Court that it had appointed Dharmednra Chatur as its interim Nodal Contact Person, but he withdrew from that position on June 21. It reported that a job announcement has similarly been placed for the post and the company will endeavour to appoint a qualified candidate for this post within two weeks on an interim basis and appoint a direct employee on the post within eight weeks.

The company reported that it has the same position with regard to the appointment of a Resident Grievance Officer. Twitter said it was in the process of setting up a Liaison Office in India which will be its permanent contact address.

On his first day in office, Information Technology and Communications Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has echoed the words of his predecessor and said all those who live and work in India will have to abide by the rules of the country.



Published on July 08, 2021

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