By Archit Lohani This article was first published on CCG-NLUD’s blog; it has been cross-posted with prior permission. The Karnataka High Court recently dismissed Twitter's challenge to several blocking orders issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY). In its writ petition, Twitter raised two primary concerns: (i) Does MeitY have the power to block entire Twitter accounts rather than specific tweets; and (ii) Can MeitY bypass certain procedural safeguards to block illegal content? The court dismissed Twitter’s petition, imposing exemplary costs for wasting the court’s time and non-compliance with MeitY’s orders, considering it speculative litigation. This determination holds immense significance for the content-blocking framework as it expands the government's powers and limits users’ due process rights. This post will analyse the first aspect of the court’s order and outline the key developments in the blocking framework and its jurisprudence. Afterward, it will comment on the order’s implications for social media governance. Reading between the lines: Expansion of Government’s Power to Block Entire Accounts Throughout this case, Twitter argued that the blocking framework, under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, as well as the IT Rules, framed thereunder, only granted the government limited power to block existing information. Twitter contended that extending the government’s power to block entire accounts limited users’ ability to post information in the future, leading to prior restraint as even future innocuous tweets would be censored. The court dismissed this argument using a three-pronged approach: it held that “the text, context and…
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