The government had asked Twitter to act on the content take-down notices sent under Section 69A of the IT Act, along with non-compliance notices issued for not taking the content down.

Stylised image of Karnataka HC with Twitter logo in the background
Atom IT Act Tuesday, July 05, 2022 - 18:27

Twitter Inc has moved the Karnataka High Court against the Union government's content blocking orders on its platform. The social media platform has contended that the content blocking directives from the IT Ministry do not pass "the test of the grounds provided under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act", IANS reported on Tuesday, July 5. Twitter has alleged that several blocking orders that were issued to Twitter only "cite" the grounds of Section 69A but fail to demonstrate how the content falls within those grounds or how the said content is violative of Section 69A.

The Union government had asked Twitter to act on the content take-down notices sent under Section 69A of the IT Act, along with non-compliance notices issued for not taking the content down. According to sources, Twitter has sought judicial review of some of the content that forms a part of various blocking orders, requesting relief from the court to set aside these blocking orders. Section 69A of the Information Technology Act allows the Union government to block the public’s access to an intermediary “in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above”.

In a June letter, the IT Ministry had warned Twitter of strict action if it does not comply with some content takedown orders. According to sources, Twitter argues that multiple accounts and content included in the blocking orders are either "overbroad and arbitrary", fail to provide notice to the "originators" of the content, and are "disproportionate" in several cases.

Similarly, several accounts or content could pertain to political content that is posted by official handles of political parties, according to sources. Blocking of such information is a violation of the freedom of speech guaranteed to citizen-users of the platform, Twitter has said. The IT Ministry is yet to react to Twitter's move.

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