Twitter has to comply with the new Information Technology Rules for digital media if they have not been stayed, the Delhi High Court said on Monday.
Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to the Centre and social media platform Twitter seeking their stand on a plea by a lawyer, Amit Acharya, claiming non-compliance of the rules by it.
While Twitter claimed before the court that it has complied with the rules and appointed a resident grievance officer, the central government disputed the claim.
“They have to follow it (rules), if it has not been stayed,” the court said.
In his plea, filed through advocate Akash Vajpai and Manish Kumar, Acharya said that he came to know about the alleged non-compliance when he tried to lodge a complaint against a couple of tweets.
Large social media companies like Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp have shared details with the IT Ministry as per requirement of the new digital rules, but Twitter is still not following the norms, government sources said on Saturday.
Twitter had not sent details of chief compliance officer to the IT Ministry, and shared details of a lawyer working in a law firm as nodal contact person and grievance officer, the sources said. This is when the IT rules clearly require these designated officers of the significant social media platforms to be employees of the company and resident in India, they pointed out.
The row over Twitter’s handling of certain messages escalated into an all-out war of words last week, with the government saying the messaging platform was levelling baseless and false allegations to defame India and dictating terms to the world’s largest democracy.
It started with Twitter calling the visit by Delhi Police to its offices a form of “intimidation” – a statement which met with vociferous protests from both the government and the Delhi Police.
Twitter had marked several tweets by ruling BJP leaders on an alleged strategy document of Opposition to target the government over COVID-19 as containing ”manipulated media”, which had prompted the police to visit its offices.