Centre free to act against Twitter: High Court

The Delhi High Court Thursday said the Central Government can initiate action against Twitter in accordance with the new IT rules in case of non-compliance even as the micro-blogging site submitted a timeline on the appointment process of officers as mandated while maintaining that it reserves the right to challenge the rules.

The court’s remarks came on a day when the new Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Ashwini Vaishnaw, made his stand clear on the ongoing faceoff between the Government and Twitter over the IT rules, saying that whoever lived and worked in India would have to follow its rules — and that the “law of the land is supreme”. The HC made its stand clear following the microblogging site seeking more time to appoint key officials as mandated under India’s new law. Advocate Sajan Poovayya, representing Twitter, told the court it was not seeking any protection. Poovayya sought time from the court to file a notarised affidavit from the US regarding the issue of compliance. Meanwhile, Twitter filed a short note, clarifying the status of appointment of the interim chief compliance officer (CCO), interim RGO as well as a nodal contact person on an interim basis. It said it required regularise these positions.

The court granted two weeks for the notarised affidavits to be filed and listed the matter for further hearing on July 28, but made it clear the affidavit would be filed not only by Twitter but all its newly appointed officials too, taking responsibility for the company’s compliance.