The petition has sought direction from the Union of India to pass necessary instructions to Twitter Communication India Private Limited and Twitter Inc to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 without any delay.
The petitioner said that he had filed a petition seeking an appropriate writ or instruction against the respondent Centre Government and Twitter to perform its statutory and executive duty under Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
According to Rule 4 (c) of the IT Rule, every Significant Social Media Intermediary has to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer, who shall, subject to clause (b), be responsible for the functions referred to in sub-rule (2) of rule 3, stated the petition.
The petition has been filed by Amit Acharya, a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court, through his lawyers Akash Vajpai and Manish Kumar.
The petition said that every significant social media intermediary has the responsibility to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer (employee of SSMI who should be resident in India) who will act as a single point authority for receiving and disposing of complaints within a fixed time.
They are also responsible for receiving and acknowledging any order, notice and direction issued by the appropriate government/competent authority or court of competent jurisdiction.
Every SSMI (significant social media intermediary) will also develop a mechanism for receipt of a complaint in relation to violation of any provision under the aforesaid rule and will provide a ticket number through which every complainant would be able to track the status of their complaint.
Moreover, it is also the responsibility of the SEM to provide a reason for any action taken or not taken while disposing of such complaints, the petitioner said.
He also pointed out that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 has come into force from February 25, and the respondent Centre had given three months to every SSMI to comply with these Rules.
This three-month period got over on May 25 but respondent Twitter has separately and jointly failed to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer to redress the complaints of its users with regard to the violation of the provisions of the aforesaid Rules, the petitioner said.
“At this juncture it is also important to mention that Respondent No 2 and 3 (Twitter Communication India Private Limited and Twitter Inc) not only failed to appoint Resident Grievance Officer but has also not appointed Nodal officer and Chief Compliance Officer mentioned under Rules 4 of the IT Rules, 2021,” he added.
He also apprised the Court that he is also a subscriber and user of the microblogging website and while scrolling on May 26, found some tweets of two individuals defamatory, false and untrue. When he tried to look for a Resident Grievance Officer to register a complaint against the alleged tweets, he found no details, which is a clear violation of subrule 2(a) of Rule 3 which says – The intermediary shall prominently publish on its website, mobile-based application or both, as the case may be, the name of the Grievance Officer and his contact details.
Therefore, the petitioner urged the Court to issue direction to Union of India to pass necessary instruction/order to Twitter to appoint Resident Grievance Officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 without delay.
He also sought an appropriate direction against the respondent to discharge their executive, statutory and all other obligations in relation to Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 without any delay.