Centre asked for entire accounts to be blocked: Twitter to Karnataka HC
The High Court was hearing a petition by Twitter against the Central government’s orders asking it to block some accounts, URLs and tweets.
BENGALURU: Micro-blogging site Twitter informed the Karnataka High Court on Monday that the Union government was asking it to block entire accounts of holders rather than just their tweets because of their political content.
Senior counsel for Twitter, Arvind Datar, argued that the micro-blogging site was asked to block entire accounts although Section 69A of the IT Act permitted to only block information through Blocking Orders under the section of the Act.
Besides, about 50-60 per cent of the tweets that the Union government had asked Twitter to block under the orders, were “innocuous” (not harmful or offensive), he said. He argued that there was no justification in blocking such tweets and that because of such orders, Twitter’s business would be affected.
Datar questioned the legality of the Blocking Orders pertaining to certain tweets on farmers’ agitations and alleged mismanagement of Covid-19, asking why it was being ordered to block information when the media could report it. The High Court was hearing a petition by Twitter against the Central government’s orders asking it to block some accounts, URLs and tweets.
The petition questioned the legality of multiple blocking orders passed by the Union government under the Information Technology (Procedures and Safeguards for Blocking of Access to Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
Twitter challenged the multiple blocking orders’ issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy) from February 2, 2021, to February 28, 2022.
Twitter said orders under sections of the Information Technology Act were issued to block 1,474 accounts/URLs and 175 tweets from being accessed by the public, besides certain information which included suspension of whole accounts on Twitter. MEITy had on September 1 filed a 101-page statement of objection to Twitter’s petition.