The Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted time to the Center to inform whether it is framing any rules to control the issue of de-platforming of users from social media. Justice Yashwant Verma was hearing petitions related to suspension and deletion of accounts of several social media users, including Twitter users.
Central government counsel Kirtiman Singh urged the court to list the cases after two weeks so that it can come back with further directions regarding any draft policy on de-platforming of social media users.
Senior counsel for one of the social media platforms said that if such guidelines are framed, the scope of proceedings before the court can be navigated accordingly.
The court listed the matter for further hearing in September, asking the Center to explain its stand.
In its affidavit filed in a case against the suspension of the petitioner’s Twitter account, the Center has said that the freedom and liberty of an individual “cannot be curtailed or curtailed in the slipperiness of social and technological progress” and that social media platforms Must respect the fundamental rights of citizens and as per the Constitution of India.
It has said that social media platforms should not shut down the account itself or suspend it outright in all cases and that complete de-platforming is against the spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Stating that it is the custodian of fundamental rights of users in cyberspace, the Center has said that a social media account can be suspended or de-platformed only in cases in the interest of sovereignty, security and integrity of India. Friendly relations with foreign states or public order or pursuant to a court order or material sexual abuse in the form of material is completely unlawful.