The Centre told the Delhi High Court that it will introduce at “some point in time” a framework to regulate social media platforms.
The proposed framework would be prospective.
This means that existing cases of suspension of social media accounts would have to be decided in terms of the existing regulations.
On behalf of aggrieved Twitter users
The statement was made before Justice Yashwant Varma who was hearing a batch of petitions against the suspension of accounts of several social media users, including Twitter users.
The court deferred hearing on the petitions till Dec. 19, giving further time to the Centre to inform it of any further developments.
They said, “If the scope of the regulatory power that you (Centre) propose to invoke is known we will know what the contours of our jurisdiction are.”
Court defers hearing
It also questioned why the existing grievances should not be dealt with in terms of the proposed framework.
It said it wanted to understand the impact of any new regime on the cases before it.
Several petitions concerning the deletion and suspension of social media users are pending adjudication in the HC.
The batch includes the petition by senior advocate Sanjay Hegde against the permanent suspension of his Twitter account for allegedly re-tweeting two posts.
No excuse for de-platforming unless..
The Centre said that social and technological advancement cannot infringe on an individual’s liberty and freedom and that social media platforms must respect the citizen’s fundamental rights and conform to the Constitution of India.
It argued that social media platforms should not take down the account or completely suspend it in any case..
It said that complete de-platforming is against the spirit of Articles 14, 19, and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Suspension or de-platforming can happen only in cases such as iIn the interest of the sovereignty, security, and integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or pursuant to a court order or the content is grossly unlawful such as sexual abuse material, etc.