Twitter Appeals Against Government Takedown Orders Overturned by Supreme Court

The Karnataka High Court has adjourned the hearing of a petition filed by microblogging website Twitter against the Central government’s downgrade orders till December 12.

The Ministry of Civil and Technical Affairs sought time to present its arguments in the case after which Justice Krishna S Dixit adjourned the case on Wednesday.

Twitter has gone to the Supreme Court challenging several injunctions granted to it to remove tweets, accounts and URLs from the platform.

The social media platform, in its petition filed in June 2022, said the Center should have issued a notice to the owners of Twitter handles where the ban orders were issued. The company says it has been prevented from even informing its account holders about the reduction.

Senior lawyers Arvind Datar and Ashok Haranahalli argued on Twitter’s behalf before the Supreme Court two months ago.

The biggest controversy so far on behalf of Twitter is that the government’s ban orders are against the directions issued by the Supreme Court in the Shreya Singhal case. This is a case where the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act.

Twitter has argued that those whose accounts will be taken down should be given advance notice. It also posted a list of accounts, tweets and URLs that the government asked it to remove between February 2, 2021 and February 28, 2022.

The issue is about 10 government orders during this period in which the Center directed the microblogging site to block 1,474 accounts, 175 Tweets, 256 URLs and one hashtag.

Twitter, however, challenged the orders associated with 39 of these URLs. In the previous case, Twitter also posted a 300-page compilation of how such stories are handled in various countries.

The blocking orders are under Section 69A of the IT Act which provides for the blocking of content that is against the interests of India’s sovereignty and integrity, relating to the defense of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign states, public order and content that offends or incites the commission of any crime.

Twitter said the orders are not in accordance with Section 69A of the IT Act.


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