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Twitter in ‘final stages’ of appointing interim Chief Compliance Officer and Grievance Redressal Officer

Twitter

The microblogging platform also argued that it had not been given enough time by the petitioner to file a response.

While requesting the Delhi High Court to dismiss the petition filed against it for allegedly not complying with the IT Rules 2021, Twitter said that it was in the final stages of appointing a grievance redressal officer and an interim chief compliance officer.

Twitter said the same in an affidavit filed in response to a notice issued by the Delhi High Court. MediaNama has obtained a copy of the affidavit. On May 31, the Delhi High Court heard a petition filed against the microblogging platform, wherein Twitter had said that it had appointed an interim grievance redressal officer, Dharmendra Chatur.

The social media platform had also asked for time to reply and counter the allegations made by Amit Acharya, an advocate, in his petition filed in the Delhi High Court. Acharya’s petition alleged that Twitter had not complied with the new IT Rules 2021 as he claimed that he was unable to find the details of a resident grievance officer on the microblogging platform’s website. The advocate had urged the HC to direct Twitter to appoint a resident grievance officer and to implement other sections of the new rules.

Twitter’s counter to the petition

Interim grievance officer withdrew his candidature: In the affidavit, Twitter said that when it was in the process of ‘formalising’ the appointment of an interim resident grievance officer (Chatur), he withdrew his candidature. Thus, as of now, the social media platform said that it was “in the final stages of appointing a replacement while in the meanwhile the grievances of Indian users are being addressed by the grievance officer”.

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Writ petition not maintainable: Twitter alleged that a representation in the form of an email sent by Acharya’s counsel was made in a personal capacity. The company argued that Acharya’s counsel did not disclose in the email that it was sent on behalf of Acharya and there was no ‘demand for justice’ made in the letter, and hence the petition was not maintainable.

Not given enough time for response: Twitter argued that even if demand for justice was made by the petitioner, the latter did not give enough time for a response. The demand for justice is dated May 26, and a writ petition was filed on May 28, “thereby reducing the alleged demand for justice to an empty formality”.

Tweets mentioned in petition do not pertain to Acharya: Acharya, in his petition, had flagged tweets by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra and journalist Swati Chaturvedi on former Chief Justice of India Sharav Arvind Bobde as “offensive and objectionable”. In the affidavit, Twitter countered the argument by saying that the tweets did not pertain to Acharya, and thus, he cannot claim to be aggrieved or to have suffered a legal injury because of the same.

Writ petition has become ‘infructuous’: Before filing the petition, Acharya had emailed his ‘grievances’ to Twitter on May 26. It was only when he claimed that the responses received were not adequate that he filed the petition. However, Twitter said that they had filed a detailed response to Acharya on June 9 (in accordance with the IT Rules 2021, which says that grievances should be responded to within 15 days), and therefore the complaint was ‘considered and disposed of’. Thus, it argued that no court ‘will entertain a plea in vacuum’.

As an intermediary, we cannot be an arbiter: Twitter

In their detailed response to Acharya’s grievance regarding tweets by Mahua Moitra and Swati Chaturvedi, Twitter said that as an intermediary, it cannot be an arbiter of whether the mentioned tweets ‘are false, illegal and defamatory’. Twitter said that Acharya can move forward with the complaint if he has a court order or a notice from a competent authority regarding the tweets, else the issue would be considered disposed of.

On May 21, Twitter labelled tweets of Bharatiya Janata Party politicians including spokesperson Sambit Patra and others on the toolkit allegedly prepared by Congress as “manipulated media”. The other BJP politicians include Priti Gandhi, Sunil Deodhar, Vinay Sahasrabudhhe, and Kuljeet Singh Chahal. A tweet by columnist Shefali Vaidya was also tagged with the others.

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Among other subjects, I cover the increasing usage of emerging technologies, especially for surveillance in India

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