The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear TikTok’s plea seeking to transfer cases related to a ban imposed on its mobile application from the Madras High Court to the top court, PTI reported.
Senior advocate AM Singhvi, who appeared for the Chinese firm, argued that all matters pending before the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court be transferred to the Supreme Court for final and expeditious disposal.
“We are not inclined to entertain this transfer petition,” the bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said. The bench said the Madras High Court can very well address all the matters, including those relating to free speech, News18. The firm then withdrew its petition.
The Madras High Court had banned the download of the app on April 3 based on concerns of pornographic content. The Supreme Court gave the court until April 24 to decide on TikTok’s plea seeking interim relief, after which the Madras High Court lifted the ban, but warned against obscenity.
TikTok had filed a plea in the top court 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, violated the fundamental right to free speech and expression.
TikTok argued that it was 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. Amicus curiae Arvind Datar had told the court that the IT Act does not obligate the intermediary to screen all information being hosted on its portal.