Twitter – Appointment of compliance, grievance officers in process, Twitter tells Delhi High Court
It is also in the process of appointing an interim chief compliance officer in the country, the US-based social media network said.
ET reported last month that Dharmendra Chatur, who was appointed Twitter’s interim resident grievance officer for India in May, had quit.
Meanwhile, grievances of its users in India were being addressed by a grievance officer whose details are available on its website, the company told the court.
Responding to a petition alleging that it had not complied with India’s Information Technology Rules, Twitter said the plea was not maintainable under Article 226 of the Constitution, as it is a corporation registered in the US.
Twitter also said it was neither the originator nor the publisher of electronic records transmitted through its platform. The petitioner claims to be aggrieved by tweets on its platform, but the authors of the same have not been impleaded as respondents in the case, it argued.
“The grievance of the petitioner was received and acknowledged by the answering respondent (Twitter) within 24 hours (on May 26). Further, the grievance has also been disposed of within the period of 15 days, on June 9 as prescribed by Rule 3(2) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021,” the company said, arguing that the writ petition was not maintainable.
Twitter was responding to a notice issued on May 31.
Facing several cases across states
A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli had sought details from the company on its compliance with intermediary guidelines within three weeks. The court had also sought responses from the government. It is set to hear the case next on July 6. The plea was filed by Amit Acharya, practicing advocate in the Delhi High Court and Supreme Court. It said the petitioner was unable to find details of Twitter’s resident grievance officer on the company’s website to raise grievances against “objectionable tweets” made by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and journalist Swati Chaturvedi.
According to the petition, the microblogging platform had not complied with the new IT Rules that came into effect on May 25.
The case is one among many filed against the social network in the recent past, after it failed to comply with the requirement of hiring three officials – for grievance, nodal and compliance – within the stipulated three months set by the government. According to the rules, these officials should be residents of India and permanent employees. ET had earlier reported that Twitter had likely lost its intermediary status, which offers protection from criminal liability for content posted on its platform by third parties.
Twitter is also engaged in a standoff with the government over its tagging of certain tweets by senior BJP leaders as ‘manipulated media’. The government had asked the company to remove the tags in a strongly worded letter last month, but the company has yet to comply with the request, stating that the tweets had been tagged as per its global policy. The Delhi Police, which is investigating the matter, has not filed a first information report yet. It had questioned Twitter India managing director Manish Maheshwari at his residence in Bengaluru in connection with the ‘manipulated media’ case.
Twitter is also facing separate police probes in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh over publishing an inaccurate map of India in the career section of its website.
Last week, the Delhi cyber police sent a notice to Twitter following a complaint by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on May 29, over child pornography allegedly circulated on its platform.
On Saturday, a fresh case was filed by a lawyer, Aditya Singh Deshwal, against Twitter and Maheshwari with the cyber police, over alleged cartoons that showed a Hindu goddess in an “obnoxious manner” being circulated on the platform.