The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to strike a balance between the privacy and reputation of individuals and sovereignty of the state while drafting regulations to check the misuse of social media, reported Live Law. The Centre has been asked to inform the court within three weeks about the time needed to come up with the guidelines.

The next hearing is on October 22.

The bench, headed by Justice Deepak Gupta, also suggested that the free-for-all principle on social media, where anyone can say anything and get away with it, should end. The bench observed that technology has taken a “dangerous turn”, reported PTI.

“There is no fear,” the bench said. “Suppose somebody says something which is, per se, defamatory. Why can’t the affected person go ahead and ask who originated such a message? A person should be empowered to demand who writes a defamatory remark against him or her.”

The court was hearing a petition filed by Facebook to transfer cases being heard in the High Courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh in connection with linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar. In its transfer petition, Facebook said that the cases pending in the High Courts involved similar questions of law and should be heard by the Supreme Court to avoid conflicting judgements.

The court said the government should also keep in mind concerns of national security while framing the guidelines. The bench said neither the top court nor the High Courts was competent to decide on this, and it was for the government to come up with appropriate guidelines. “My view is that the government is best placed to take decision. People can challenge it later,” said one of the two judges, according to Hindustan Times.

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