Twitter on Tuesday approached the Karnataka High Court challenging certain notices issued by the Union government to remove posts and orders to block accounts on the social media platform, Live Law reported on Tuesday.
The notices and blocking orders under contention have been sent under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act. The provision allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security.
In its plea, Twitter has sought that the notices and orders be overturned, stating that some of them fell short of the procedural requirements of the Information Technology Act, Reuters reported. Twitter added that some of the orders even failed to give notice to the authors of the content.
On multiple occasions in the past, the central government has asked Twitter to take down posts and accounts, including those that are critical of its actions.
In February 2021, the government demanded that Twitter remove hundreds of accounts that criticised the Centre over its handling of the large-scale farmer protests which started in November 2020. The social media platform initially refused, but eventually relented after its local employees were threatened with prison time.
In April last year, the Centre had asked Twitter to pull down accounts that criticised the government’s handling of Covid-19 during the second wave when lakhs of people died.
Twitter vs government
The Centre has repeatedly criticised Twitter for not fully complying with the new Information Technology rules that came into force in May last year.
During that month itself, Twitter’s officers were raided by the Delhi Police, in a case where the government appeared to be annoyed that the ruling party’s propaganda was labelled “manipulated media” by the social network.
Later in June 2021, the Uttar Pradesh Police sought to question the India head of Twitter for allowing an elderly Muslim man’s hate crime allegations to be published on its platform. Notably, even as the man’s allegations were published across social media platforms, it was only Twitter that came under fire.
Cases have also been filed against Twitter around allegations that it has published an incorrect map of India, showing areas occupied by Pakistan as not part of India, as well as allegations that child pornography was available on the platform.
On July 5, 2021, the government filed an affidavit in the Delhi High Court arguing that Twitter had lost the immunity from legal action provided to online platforms because it had failed to comply with portions of the new IT rules.