The Supreme Court refused to stay the Madras High Court order that directed the Centre to ban the “Tiktok” app over concerns about access to pornographic content through it.
The top court said that ban directive was just an interim order and the high court is schedule to hear the matter on April 16.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said that it is keeping the issue open for further adjudication and would consider it on April 22.
Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for Chinese company ByteDance, said there were over billion downloads of the mobile app and an ex-parte orders were passed by the Madurai bench of Madras High Court. He said the court did not even issue notice in the matter and an order was passed without hearing them.
The bench said the high court is already seized of the matter and the ban order was just an interim order. “We are not closing the issue. Let the high court hear the matter,” the bench said and listed the matter for further hearing on April 22.
The Madras High Court, on April 3, had directed the Centre to ban mobile application “TikTok” as it voiced concern over the “pornographic and inappropriate content” being made available through such apps. It had directed the media not to telecast video clips made with TikTok. The app allows the users to create short videos and then share them.
It had asked the government if it would enact a statute on the line of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in the US and posted the matter for further hearing on April 16.
The High Court’s interim order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) which alleged that the app encouraged paedophiles and the content “degraded culture and encouraged pornography”.
Even after the havoc caused by ‘Blue whale’ online game, which reportedly led to suicides by several people, officials have not learnt that they should be alert to these types of problems, the High Court said.
Only when the officials and policy makers were able to act on the problems of society, decision could be taken to prevent these kind of apps, it had said.
Voicing concern, the court had said that it was evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate content were made available through such mobile applications.