Twitter Says Its Business Will Close If Accounts Are Blocked Without Reasons

The MeiTY provided Twitter with a letter outlining grave repercussions of noncompliance, including the possibility of commencing criminal proceedings against Twitter’s Chief Compliance Officer. In response, twitter said that its business will close if accounts are blocked without reasons.

Twitter Says Its Business Will Close If Accounts Are Blocked Without Reasons

The Karnataka High Court served notice to the Central Government on Tuesday in response to a writ case filed by Twitter Inc contesting the Centre’s blocking orders, reports Live Law.

A single bench led by Justice Krishna S Dixit adjourned the case to August 25. The Court has enabled Twitter to lodge the blocking orders in sealed cover with the Court. The Court also ordered Twitter to reveal all classified documents with Central Government Counsel.

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who appeared on behalf of the microblogging site, claimed that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology filed blocking orders against roughly 1100 accounts.

“Rules require for reasons to be recorded and furnished to us on why accounts should be blocked. That is not done. We are answerable to the account-holders why their accounts are blocked. If this continues, my whole business will close”, Rohatgi submitted.

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The bench informed the senior counsel that the hearing would be held in two weeks since Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta is sick with COVID. Rohatgi concurred and asked for the case to be posted on August 25th.

The Central Government Counsel urged that the hearing be held behind closed doors (private). The bench stated that it will think about it.

According to the petition, numerous blocking orders given by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY) under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act are “procedurally and substantially deficient of the provision” and “demonstrate excessive use of powers and are disproportionate.”

According to the petition, which had been submitted on Tuesday, in June, the MeitY provided Twitter with a letter outlining grave repercussions of noncompliance, including the possibility of commencing criminal proceedings against Twitter’s Chief Compliance Officer, and awarded the company one last chance to cooperate with a series of Blocking Orders. Failure to do so will result in Twitter losing its safe harbor exemption under Section 79(1) of the IT Act, the MeiTY cautioned.

In its petition, Twitter stated that owing to the severity of these threats, it has elected to contest many Blocking Orders imposed by MeitY. According to reports, MeitY is entitled to issue Blocking Orders for materials reported by certain government entities under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act of 2000. This occurs only when MeitY has ascertained that blocking reported content is requisite in the interest of India’s sovereignty and integrity, defense of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order, or to prevent incitement to the commission of any cognizable offense relating to the foregoing.

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