The Madras High Court on Wednesday lifted the ban on TikTok, a popular mobile application that allows users to create short lip-synced videos. The court had banned the app on April 3 based on concerns of pornographic content.
In Wednesday’s ruling, the High Court said it is only concerned about crimes against children, Bar and Bench reported. The bench of Justice N Kirubakaran and Justice SS Sundar vacated its interim order banning the app. The bench warned that if any “controversial” video violating its conditions were found posted on the app, it would be considered a contempt of court.
The High Court had earlier directed the Centre to ban the download of Tiktok, and on April 16, it had refused to vacate the order banning the app.
On April 15, the Supreme Court had refused to stay the ban, and posted the matter for hearing on April 22. That day, the Supreme Court ordered the Madras High Court to pass a verdict by April 24 on the TikTok application’s petition against its ban. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that if the High Court does not pass its judgement by April 24, it will vacate the ban on the video app.
TikTok had filed a plea in the top court last week arguing that the Madras High Court’s decision to ban the app, the communication by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to comply with the order, and the removal of the app by Google and Apple from their app stores, violate the fundamental right to free speech and expression.
TikTok argued that it is merely an intermediary under the Information Technology Act, 2000, on which users can generate and post content. The platform itself has no role in the selection or creation of content, Tiktok said. On Wednesday, amicus curiae Arvind Datar told the court that the IT Act does not obligate the intermediary to screen all information being hosted on its portal.
The company also alleged that the action ordered against it is selective, because the problems it faces are exactly the same as faced by other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.