Delhi HC pulls up Twitter over failure to appoint a grievance officer
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday lashed out at social media giant Twitter over failure to appoint a grievance officer in compliance with the new information and technology (IT) rules notified by the government in February 2021.
“If Twitter thinks that they can take as much time as it wants in our country, then I will not permit that. You should have taken some firm steps to appoint the officer,” Delhi HC told the social media giant.
Weeks after missing the deadline to appoint India-based grievance officers in accordance with the new IT regulations, Twitter told the high court that it was still in the process to appoint an officer and would require more time.
Responding to Twitter’s remarks, Justice Rekha Palli hit out at that US-based tech giant for misleading the court and failing to follow the rules. She said that Twitter previously gave the wrong impression that it has appointed a resident grievance officer.
“You have misled the court and gave a wrong impression. Be that as it may, the least Twitter can do was appoint another officer after June 21. We are concerned with the compliance,” the court said.
Twitter’s former interim resident grievance officer Dharmendra Chatur resigned on June 21, less than a month after joining the company.
On Monday, the Centre told the court that Twitter has failed to comply with the new IT rules which could result in the company losing its legal immunity under the country’s Section 79 of the IT Act.
“In spite of three months’ time granted to all significant social media intermediaries to comply with the IT Rules, 2021, Twitter Inc has failed to comply with the same,” the Centre said in an affidavit to the court.
Meanwhile, the Delhi HC has given Twitter time till Thursday (July 8) to inform about the tentative deadline for appointing the company’s grievance officers for India.
While Twitter appointed US-based Global Legal Policy Director Jeremy Kessel as the grievance officer for India after Dharmendra Chatur’s resignation, the IT rules clearly state that the officer must be an Indian resident.
This development has come amid escalating tensions between the Indian government and leading tech giants such as Facebook. Google and Twitter over their compliance with the IT rules.
As part of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules that came into force on May 25, any intermediary social media firm with more than 5 million users in India is required to appoint a team of officers to handle on-ground matters related to the country. The team will include a chief compliant officer, a resident grievance officer, and a nodal contact person.