Karnataka HC calls out Central government for repeated adjournments in the Twitter case

The Karnataka High Court on Monday called out the Central government for seeking repeated adjournments
in a plea by Twitter challenging the ten blocking orders issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

Justice Krishna S Dixit said the High Court was not at the ‘beck and call’ of the government when the counsel for the central government sought adjournment and requested for the case be listed on January 27 or February 3.

“We are not at the government’s dictation like that… What people will think? We are not at your beck and call. How many times you have taken adjournment? See the order sheet,” Justice Dixit said.

He added that it was an important matter and hence would grant a week’s time. The case has been listed for January 18.

Twitter had moved the Karnataka High Court on July 6 last year, filing a writ petition to challenge 10 blocking orders for 39 URLs issued by the central government between February 2021 and February 2022.

The legal move had followed the expiry of the July 4 deadline requiring the American microblogging platform to comply with directives issued by the ministry of electronics & information technology (MeitY).

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On October 17 last year,
Twitter had told the Karnataka High Court that the central government cannot issue general orders calling for the blocking of social media accounts unless the content is in line with the grounds laid down under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
“There can’t be a general blocking order unless the nature of the content is in violation of grounds under 69A. Unless these six grounds are there, you cannot make a blocking order,” senior advocates Arvind Datar and Ashok Haranahalli, who appeared for Twitter, had told Justice Krishna S. Dixit, during the last hearing on October 17, 2022.

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