“Won’t Protect If Centre Acts Over Non-Compliance”: High Court To Twitter

Twitter

New Delhi: Twitter will not enjoy legal protection if it does not follow India’s new information technology rules, which includes clauses like appointing compliance officers based in the country, the Delhi High Court told the social media giant on Thursday.

The court also asked all interim officers appointed by Twitter to file affidavits stating they would take responsibility for the duties tasked to them.

Earlier in the day, Twitter sought eight weeks’ time to appoint a grievance officer in India, telling the Delhi High Court that it has appointed an interim chief compliance officer, who is a resident of India, two days ago.

It said an interim grievance officer will be appointed by July 11 and that an interim nodal contact person will be appointed in two weeks.

The social media giant also told the court that it will make its first compliance report public by July 11.

Twitter gave a time frame two days after the court warned that it cannot take “as long as it wants” in this country to appoint an India-based officer for it to comply with the country’s new IT rules.

Appointments for three full-time positions – a chief compliance officer, a resident grievance officer and a nodal contact person – will be made in eight weeks, Twitter said, adding it is accepting applications for these roles for which job openings have been posted.
On Tuesday, Delhi High Court gave a stern warning to the company over the appointment of a grievance office. “How long does your process take? If Twitter thinks it can take as long it wants in our country, I will not allow that,” Justice Rekha Palli had said.

Last month, Dharmendra Chatur, who was appointed as Twitter India’s interim grievance redressal officer, resigned amid the government’s clashes with the American firm over a range of issues, including its stand on the IT rules.

After Mr Chatur quit, Twitter appointed its US-based Global Legal Policy Director Jeremy Kessel as a grievance officer for India. The new rules, however, require an Indian resident for the role.

The high court on Tuesday asked Twitter why no new grievance officer was appointed after Mr. Chatur resigned.

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A day before that, the government told the court that Twitter could lose its legal immunity to action over third-party content for not complying with rules.

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The center said according to details on the company’s website, grievances from India were being handled by an official in the US, which meant non-compliance with the new IT Rules.