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Twitter on Saturday told the Delhi High Court that the interim Resident Grievance Officer of the microblogging site withdrew his candidature on June 21 and it is in the final stages of appointing a person for the post of Resident Grievance Officer.

The company said it is in the final stages of appointing a replacement while in the meanwhile the grievances of Indian users are being addressed by the Grievance Officer.

Twitter's response filed in a petition alleging non-compliance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, in which the Delhi High Court had issued notice.

The reply states that, Twitter Inc. incorporated under US laws and operates services on micro-blogging platform Twitter in India and the process of appointing a replacement for the interim resident grievance officer who resigned on June 21.

Earlier, Twitter told the Delhi High Court that it has complied with Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and already appointed Resident Grievance Officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 on May 28.

A single-judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli sought a response and listed the matter for July 6.

However, petitioner advocate Akash Vajpai appearing for the petitioner had argued that appointment is not as per rules.

Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya appearing for Twitter Inc had told the High Court that there was not compliance at the date of filing of the petition but now Twitter has complied with the rules and appointed Resident Grievance Officer.

The Court was hearing a petition seeking direction to the Central government to pass necessary instruction to Twitter Communication India Private Limited and Twitter Inc to appoint Resident Grievance Officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 without any delay.

The petitioner has said that he has filed a petition against the non-compliance of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 by the Twitter Communication India Private Limited & Twitter Inc and seeking an appropriate Writ or instruction against Respondent Centre Govt and Twitter to perform its statutory and executive duty under Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

According to Rule 4(c) of the IT Rule, every Significant Social Media Intermediary has to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer, who shall, subject to clause (b), be responsible for the functions referred to in sub-rule (2) of rule 3, stated the petition.

The petition was filed by Amit Acharya a practicing Advocate in Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court, through lawyers Akash Vajpai and Manish Kumar.

The petition said that every significant social media intermediary has a responsibility not only to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer (employee of SSMI who should be resident in India) who will act as single point authority for receiving and disposing off complaints within a fixed time but will also receive and acknowledge any order, notice and direction issued by the appropriate government/competent authority or court of competent jurisdiction.

"Every SSMI (significant social media intermediary) will also develop a mechanism for receipt of complaint in relation to violation of any provision under the aforesaid rule and will provide ticket number through which every complainant would be able to track status of his/her complaint. Moreover It is also responsibility of SEM to provide reason for any action taken or not taken while disposing off such complaints," the petitioner said.

The petition pointed out that Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 has come into force from 25.02.2021 and Respondent Centre had given 3 months to every SSMI to comply with these Rules and these three months period got over on 25.05.2021 but Respondent Twitter has separately & jointly failed to appoint any Resident Grievance Officer to redress the complaints of its users with regard to the violation of the provisions of the aforesaid Rules.

"At this juncture, it is also important to mention that Respondent No. 2 and 3 (Twitter Communication India Private Limited & Twitter Inc) not only failed to appoint Resident Grievance Officer but has also not appointed Nodal Officer and Chief Compliance Officer mention under Rules 4 of the IT Rules, 2021," the petition said.

The petitioner apprised the Court that he is also a subscriber and user of Twitter when scrolling his Twitter on May 26, 2021, found some of the tweets of two individuals very defamatory, false and untrue but when he tried to look for Resident Grievance Officer so that he can register his complaint against the alleged defamatory and untrue tweets, he found no details of the Resident Grievance Officer on the page of Twitter, which is a clear violation of subrule 2(a) of Rule 3 which says that The intermediary shall prominently publish on its website, mobile-based application or both, as the case may be, the name of the Grievance Officer and his contact details.

Therefore, the petitioner has urged the Court to issue direction to Centre Union of India to pass necessary instruction/order to Twitter to appoint Resident Grievance Officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 without any delay.

He also sought an appropriate direction against respondents to discharge their executive, statutory and all other obligations in relation to Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021 without any delay.

The petitioner also sought direction to Twitter Communication India Private Limited and Twitter Inc to implement Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021

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