The order was served in a court hearing on a petition against Twitter for non-compliance with the new IT rules.
In a written order, the Delhi High Court expressed its displeasure with the appointment of interim officers such as the Chief Compliance Officer, despite the Information Technology Rules 2021, which require major social media intermediaries (SSMIs) such as Twitter to fill these positions on a permanent basis.
“This dish is unable to guess Why in the note dated July 8th, 2021 and the attached email from the Deputy General Counsel and Vice President (Legal) of Respondent No. 2, the interim appointment of the three public officials to be appointed is mentioned Compliance with rule 4 (1) (a ), (b) & (c) of the IT rules 2021, i.e. Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person, Resident Grievance Officer, if the statutory provisions stipulate a permanent position. Since Defendant No. 2 has not submitted an affidavit, it is in any case considered appropriate, as was requested, to give her two more weeks to submit the same, ”says Judge Rekha Palli’s order.
This court case, Amit Acharya v Twitter, was filed by the petitioner in May alleging non-compliance with IT rules 2021. The Union government had previously stated that May 25th was the last date to comply with the rules. Acharya had said in his petition that Twitter’s complaints officer was a US citizen, in violation of the rules that required the complaints officer and chief compliance officer to be based in India.
To the south, Twitter India’s Manish Maheshwari had applied to the Karnataka Supreme Court to be exempt from the two notices served on him in relation to the UP police investigation into the Ghaziabad video of the attack. The court will announce its decision on the case on Monday.
In the meantime, Palli made clear in her written order, while giving Twitter time to make an affidavit to demonstrate compliance with IT rules, that “the defendant (Twitter) will not be granted temporary protection”. “Therefore it is open to the defendant No. 1 to proceed against the defendant No. 2 in accordance with the IT rules 2021, if a violation of these is found,” says the court order.
Other important mentions in the order –
- Twitter is in the process of establishing a permanent liaison office in India. For now, it has a physical office on the 4th floor, The Estate, 121 Dickenson Road, Bengaluru, Karnataka. set up
- The affidavit that Twitter must submit should be notarized in the United States of America. Affidavits from those appointed or to be appointed in accordance with the regulations should also be submitted.
That order comes a day after Judge Palli hit Twitter for failing to appoint interim officers according to the rules. Last week Palli remarked during a trial: “If Twitter believes that it can take them as long as they want in our country, I will not allow that.” She added that the company should have appointed someone in the two weeks between the resignation of Dharmendra Chatur, an attorney who served briefly as interim complainant for Twitter, and the hearing. The judiciary had also sued the company’s lawyer, Sajan Poovayya, for failing to clarify that Chatur’s appointment was temporary. Poovayya replied that he was only acting on the instructions of his client.
Interim Tax and Financial Officer: Twitter Counsel
Earlier in the trial hearing on July 8, Twitter’s attorney Sajan Poovayya argued in court that the company was appointing officials under IT rules as “interim” for tax and financial reasons, as the company did not yet have a liaison office in India.
Twitter argued that its interim appointees will do whatever is required under IT law and will appoint officials as required under IT rules within eight months. However, the Union government attorney disagreed with the appointment’s statement that the rules did not give Twitter the discretion to make interim appointments and that it must be fully compliant. Poovayya replied that in the event of non-compliance, the government could send a notice to Twitter and that the company would respond.
Compliance report on July 11th
Prior to the July 8 process, Twitter had filed a notice stating that the platform had issued its compliance report on July 11 under rule 4 (d) of the IT rules for major social media intermediaries (with more than 50 lakh members) until Sunday. Facebook, Google and Koo have already published their first monthly reports under this provision.
What is a Great Social Media Broker? According to rule 4 (1) of the IT rules, a “major social media intermediary” is a platform with more than 5 million registered users in India. The rulebook stipulates that SSMIs must set up a three-tier system of due diligence, consisting of a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Contact Person and a Resident Grievance Officer, all resident in India, within 3 months of the announcement of the rules.
What do the rules require of social media platforms?
The new IT rules, which were announced on February 25th and came into force on May 25th, require, among other things, that messaging apps with over 5 million registered users in India:
Appoint key leadership roles: Social media intermediaries must appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, Node Contact Person, and Resident Complaints Officer, all of whom are India based and employees of the platform. While WhatsApp and Telegram both Fulfills with this requirement a few days after it came into force Signal and Apple still have to do this.
Activate traceability: Messaging apps must also allow identification of the first sender of a message. No major messaging platform has ever met this requirement. WhatsApp has sued the Indian government, arguing that the traceability mandate requires the platform to break end-to-end encryption for all of its users, violating users’ right to privacy and freedom of expression and beyond the scope of parent law .