Karnataka High Court dismisses Twitter’s plea against the central government’s orders. Court imposes Rs. 50 lakh fine on Twitter for non-compliance with orders. Court states Twitter is not a farmer but a billion-dollar company and should be aware of the rules.
According to media reports, between February 2021 and 2022, the central government had ordered Twitter to block several accounts, tweets, and URLs related to the farmer’s protest and the COVID-19 virus.
In June, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a notice to Twitter stating that the company failed to comply with the government’s orders and legal action would be taken against them.
Twitter had filed a petition against this in the Karnataka High Court. On July 26, 2022, Justice Krishna Srinivasan’s single-judge bench heard the petition for the first time. Subsequently, both the central government and Twitter withdrew their petitions before the court.
The High Court had kept its verdict reserved on April 21 this year. The verdict was pronounced on June 30, imposing a fine within 45 days.
Twitter stated that it is required to disclose the reason for blocking an account. Twitter informed the court that the government does not have a general order to block social media accounts. Therefore, the company can inform users for what reason their account has been blocked.
On the other hand, the government argued that it issued the order to block Twitter in the interest of national security, which could prevent incidents of lynching and riots.
The court stated that the order was not implemented despite the possibility of imposing penalties. After the verdict was pronounced, the court mentioned that Twitter had been served a notice, but the company did not follow it. Non-compliance with the order can result in imprisonment and penalties for up to 7 years. Despite this knowledge, the order was not followed. The reasons for the delay in compliance were not mentioned. Afterward, Twitter suddenly appeared in court.