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Karnataka HC imposes a fine of Rs 50 lakh on Twitter for non-compliance

The court has also refused Twitter's request to stay the Centre's orders to block some accounts on its platform with tweets related to coronavirus and farmers' protests

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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Challenging the microblogging platform's plea against the IT ministry's blocking orders, Karnataka High Court on Friday imposed a penalty of Rs 50 lakh on Twitter, citing its conduct. According to LiveLaw, the court has refused Twitter's request to stay the Centre's order.

Centre had asked Twitter to take down some accounts with tweets related to farmers' protests and coronavirus. Twitter said that the orders to block some tweets were "procedurally and substantially deficient of the provision" and "demonstrate excessive use of powers".

In June last year, the IT ministry served a notice to Twitter stating that a failure to take down the tweets would lead to it losing its safe harbour immunity available under Section 79(1) of the IT Act.  

Also Read: Why Twitter sought legal action and moved HC against Indian govt

The microblogging platform then approached the court. In its petition, Twitter asked how it could be directed to block user accounts and muffle the freedom of speech.

"If on my platform 1,200 accounts are blocked even when the material is appearing in print and TV, then it is causing prejudice," senior advocate Arvind Dat had argued for Twitter.

According to LiveLaw, while announcing the verdict, the bench said, "Your client (Twitter) was given notices and your client did not comply...Punishment for non-compliance is seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. That also did not deter your client. So you have not given any reason why you delayed compliance, more than a year of delay...then all of sudden you comply and approach the Court. You are not a farmer but a billion-dollar company."

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First Published: Jun 30 2023 | 11:32 AM IST

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