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Delhi HC issues notice to Twitter over non-compliance of new IT rules

Twitter claimed that it has complied with the rules and has appointed a resident grievance officer. However, the central government disputed the claim

Twitter given notice by Delhi HC Twitter given notice by Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court issued a notice to microblogging site Twitter for non-compliance of the new Information Technology rules. The court said that the digital media will have to comply with the new norms. The issue was passed by Justice Rekha Palli who sought a response from the site within three weeks. The court was hearing a plea by lawyer Amit Acharya over Twitter's non-compliance.

"They have to follow it (rules), if it has not been stayed," the court said. Acharya filed the plea through advocates Akash Vajpai and Manish Kumar. He said that he came to know about the non-compliance when he tried to lodge a complaint against a couple of tweets.

Twitter claimed that it has complied with the rules and has appointed a resident grievance officer. However, the central government disputed the claim. Central government standing counsel Ripudaman Singh Bhardwaj told the Centre that Twitter has not complied with the new IT rules.

Acharya said that the IT Rules took effect from February 25 and that the Centre gave three months to every social media intermediary to comply with them. The three-month period was over on May 25 but Twitter still did not have any resident grievance officer. He sought a direction to Twitter to appoint a resident grievance officer without further delay. It has also sought a direction to the Centre to ensure that the IT rules are complied with.

Meanwhile, Twitter had recently said it was committed to India but criticised the new rules. It said that they 'inhibit free, open public conversation'. "We are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve," a spokesperson said, following a raid by the Delhi Police.

The Centre replied to the social media platforms and said that the allegations are baseless and false and were made in an attempt to defame India and dictate terms to world's largest democracy. It said that Twitter's refusal to comply were not only hollow but also completely self-serving.

Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and other social media platforms have been asked to identify the originator of a flagged message within 36 hours as well as conduct additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person and resident grievance officer.

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