Update on 12/12/2022: The hearing has been adjourned until Monday, January 9, 2023 on Central Government's request, Bar & Bench reported. Original story published on 17/11/2022: The Karnataka High Court adjourned the hearing of Twitter's petition challenging 39 blocking orders issued by the Indian government on Monday, reported The New Indian Express. A single-Judge Bench comprising Justice Krishna S. Dixit ordered that the case will be next heard on December 12th after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) requested more time to present its arguments. Twitter's writ petition at the Karnataka High Court challenges 39 blocking orders issued under Section 69A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, for being "procedurally and substantively" deficient. The orders threaten the free speech rights of the microblogging site's "citizen-users", claims the petition filed in July. Section 69A empowers the Centre to block public access to content online in the interest of India’s sovereignty and integrity, defence, security, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order. Failing to follow these orders can compromise a platform's safe harbour under Section 79 of the IT Act. Why it matters: Twitter's challenge marks a lone instance of a company taking on the Indian government's diktat on blocking orders—which are often opaque and stifle the free speech of Indian netizens. However, as noted by the Centre, it also raises the question of whether a platform can really act as a suo moto arbiter of free speech online without compromising its safe harbour protections. The High Court proceedings…
Karnataka HC Adjourns Hearing in Twitter-Government Standoff, Next date January 9
Hearing adjourned after Central Government’s request for more time to argue its case on Twitter’s challenging of Section 69A blocking orders
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