Karnataka HC dismisses Twitter plea against Modi govt’s block order

Karnataka high court also imposed a fine of ₹50 lakh on the platform for delaying the compliance with the IT Rules

NEW DELHI | Updated: 30 June, 2023 2:37 pm IST
The petition was filed by Twitter under the Jack Dorsey regime

NEW DELHI: In a major setback for Twitter, the Karnataka High Court has rejected the social media giant’s lawsuit against the Modi government’s order for blocking certain content and accounts on the platform.

While coming down heavily on Twitter, the high court imposed a fine of ₹50 lakh on the platform for delaying the compliance of the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Delivering the scathing judgment, a single bench said, “Your client (Twitter) was given notices and your client did not comply. Punishment for non-compliance is 7 years imprisonment and unlimited fine. That also did not deter your client.”

ALSO READ: Citing Jack Dorsey, TMC accuses centre of authoritarianism

The petition was filed by Twitter when its founder Jack Dorsey was serving as the chief executive officer (CEO). Recently, Dorsey stirred a row by claiming that the Central government had threatened the company to shut it down if it did not comply with its orders.

Twitter had filed the plea against the Central government last year when its founder Jack Dorsey was serving as the chief executive officer (CEO), before Elon Musk’s ownership of the company was finalized.

The lawsuit alleged that the Centre had abused its power by arbitrarily and disproportionately ordering the removal of several tweets from the platform, including political content posted by official handles of political parties.

ALSO READ: ‘Outright lie’: India slams ex-Twitter boss for farmer stir censorship claim

Elon Musk, who has shown a closer relationship with India’s PM Narendra Modi, earlier cited Twitter’s litigation against the government as one of the reasons he wanted to exit the acquisition deal. Musk’s lawyers had expressed concerns about the risks the lawsuit exposed Twitter to in its third-largest market.

Over the past year and a half, Twitter faced numerous takedown requests from the Central government, leading to a contentious relationship.

Earlier this month, Dorsey stirred a row by claiming that the Modi government had threatened the company to shut down its operation in India if it did comply with its orders. In response, minister of state for electronics and information technology, Rajeev Chandrasekhar refuted Dorsey’s claims, accusing him of attempting to brush over Twitter’s questionable history.

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