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Twitter vs. Government on Section 69A Orders: Next hearing on September 26th, says Karnataka HC

The Karnataka High Court will next hear Twitter's challenge to 39 blocking orders issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under Section 69A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act, 2000) on September 26th. A single-Judge Bench comprising Justice Krishna S. Dixit permitted Twitter to file a rejoinder within ten days of submitting a copy to the Union. The first hearing on July 26th was postponed as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta was unwell. Why it matters: Twitter's Writ Petition filed at the Karnataka High Court in July challenges the validity of 39 Union-issued Section 69A blocking orders. Describing them as 'procedurally and substantively deficient' the microblogging platform argued that the orders threatened the free speech rights of its 'citizen-users', requesting that they be struck down. This marks a lone instance of a company—whether foreign or Indian—challenging the Indian government's much-critiqued use of Section 69A over the years. In its statement of objections filed on September 1st, the Union vehemently argued that Twitter cannot act as a suo moto arbiter of online speech, stating that doing so would lapse its safe harbour under Section 79 of the IT Act. Questioning the timing and motives of the petition, the Union highlighted Twitter's 'habitual and miserable' non-compliance with Indian IT laws while requesting that the petition be dismissed. The Union further alleged that Twitter had provided 'incorrect' information on the 39 blocking orders to the High Court—it submitted the 'correct' information to the Court in a sealed cover today. Section 69A empowers the…

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