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Twitter 'prima facie' in compliance with new IT Rules, Centre tells Delhi HC; court seeks affidavit

Twitter prima facie was in compliance with the new IT Rules by appointing a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Centre told HC.

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New Delhi Published on: August 10, 2021 13:18 IST
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Twitter prima facie was in compliance with the new IT Rules by appointing a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Centre told HC.

The Centre told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that Twitter prima facie was in compliance with the new Information Technology Rules by appointing a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) and Nodal Contact Person on permanent basis.

Justice Rekha Palli, who was hearing a petition alleging non-compliance of IT Rules by the US-based microblogging site, sought an affidavit from the Centre to bring its stand on record within two weeks.

“Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person (NCP) and Resident Grievance Officer have been appointed in compliance with the law. That's the email that I've received (from the instructing authority). It's better to have an affidavit,” Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma said.

The court said that Twitter's affidavit on its compliance with IT Rules was “finally on record”. Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, representing Twitter, iterated that the company has appointed permanent officials for the posts of CCO, RGO and NCP.

Poovayya said the appointed persons will work on a full-time basis and are fully capable of performing the functions in terms of the law.

“Court gave us a long rope. Finally we have rectified the situation. We have permanent people occupying the position,” Poovayya submitted.

On July 28, the court had expressed displeasure over Twitter appointing a contingent worker as CCO and said that the social media platform was in non-compliance with the new IT Rules.

“I'm giving you a long rope but don't expect the court to do it on and on,” the court had said. Centre had also claimed that Twitter was acting in “abject non-compliance of the rules”.

The Centre said in its affidavit that Twitter failed to comply with India's new IT Rules, which could lead to its losing immunity conferred under the IT Act.

The court had earlier granted time to Twitter to file an affidavit to show compliance with the IT Rules. Petitioner-lawyer Amit Acharya, represented by senior advocate G Tushar Rao, claimed that he came to know about the alleged non-compliance of IT Rules by Twitter when he tried to lodge a complaint against a couple of tweets.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 seek to regulate dissemination and publication of content in cyber space, including social media platforms, and were notified in February by the central government.

The matter would be heard next on October 5.

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