Last Opportunity for Twitter to Comply With IT Rules 2021; Delhi HC Directs Twitter to File Better Affidavits Within One Week

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The Delhi High Court was not satisfied with the affidavits that were filed by Twitter Inc pertaining to the appointment of Officers mandated by the new Information Technology rules of 2021 and therefore the Court granted one weeks time to Twitter to submit a better affidavit.

The Backstory

On 25th February 2021, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a notification. The notification pertained to the implementation of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, made through the exercise of powers granted under section 87 of the Information technology Act, 2000.

On 31st May, 2021, a petition was filed by an Advocate, Amit Acharya, before the Delhi High Court stating that Twitter is a social media intermediary and that it had to comply with the new Information Technology rules. On 6th July, 2021, while hearing a matter pertaining to non-compliance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, Justice Rekha Palli of the Delhi High Court said to Twitter Inc that it had to comply with the new Information Technology rules and that the Court would not grant any protection for the consequences that would arise from non-compliance of the rules. Thereafter, on 8th July, 2021, Twitter submitted before the Delhi High Court that it had appointed a Chief compliance Officer and Resident Grievance Officer. However, the Chief Compliance Officer and the Resident Grievance Officer was appointed as an interim or contingent workers and a Nodal Contact Person as required by the rules was also not appointed. Hence, the Delhi High Court was not satisfied by the affidavits filed by Twitter Inc.

Submissions before the Court

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The Counsel appearing for Twitter Inc submitted before the High Court that Twitter Inc will remove the word ‘interim’ with respect to the appointment of a resident of India as its Chief compliance Officer and the appointment of a Resident Grievance Officer. The Counsel submitted that Twitter had appointed an interim Nodal Contact Person, who had withdrawn from the position on 21st June, 2021. The Counsel informed the Court that Twitter has posted a public job announcement for a Nodal Contact Person and that the position will be filled by a qualified candidate who is a resident of India within 8 weeks.

Observations of Delhi High Court

The Court questioned the use of the term ‘contingent worker’ in the affidavit filed by Twitter Inc and stated that “the affidavit must clearly set out details of persons appointed and the reasons for non-appointment”.

Court grants 1 Weeks time to File Affidavit

The Delhi High Court granted one weeks time to Twitter Inc to file the affidavit. Accordingly, the matter was adjourned to 6th August 2021.

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