Mechanism to regulate social media to be set up, but it won’t cover account suspension: Centre tells Delhi HC – ET Government

The Central Government on Wednesday apprised the Delhi High court that it will introduce some mechanism to regulate the social media platforms but it will not cover the existing cases including account suspension by the platforms.

The counsel for Central Government made this statement during a hearing on a batch of petitions against the suspension of social media accounts by social media platforms including Twitter before the bench of Justice Yashwant Varma.

Advocate Kirtiman Singh appearing on behalf of the centre told the bench, ” we have checked up on your lordship’s last order. The amendment will take place at some point of time, we don’t really know (when). It will be a prospective change and will not cover the existing cases, they will perhaps have to decide as per the existing scheme.

The court raised a question as to why the existing grievances and account deletion won’t be dealt with in terms of the proposed mechanism. The court said it wanted to understand the impact of any new regime on the cases before it.

The court said that before entering into judgement, we also want to understand if there is any regulatory mechanism that they are proposing to implement, and whether that would have any impact on this batch.

Last month the court had asked the centre if it was contemplating any draft regulatory measures relating to social media platforms.

After granting time to centre the court listed the matters on December 19, 2022. The court observed, ” If the scope of the regulatory power that you propose to invoke is known we will know the contours of our jurisdiction area.”

The bench was hearing the batch of petitions against the suspension and social media accounts of users by the social media platforms. One of the petitions was filed by Senior counsel Sanjay Hegde against the suspension of his Twitter account.

In one of the petitions, the centre has also filed an affidavit stating that an individual’s liberty and freedom cannot be waylaid or jettisoned in the slipstream of social media and technological advancement and the social media platforms must respect the fundamental rights of the citizens and conform to the Constitution of India.

The centre has said the social media platforms should not take down themselves or be permanently suspended in all cases and complete de-platforming is against the spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

(With ANI inputs)

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