‘Laws of Land Supreme, Abide By Them’: Parl Panel Tells Twitter

·3 min read

The laws of the land are supreme and Twitter has to abide by them, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology told Twitter officials on Friday, 18 June, according to sources cited by media reports.

The members of the IT panel asked the microblogging platform why it should not be fined for 'violating' the rule of land, sources said, according to news agency PTI.

The representatives of Twitter India deposed before the panel on Friday over issues of social media platform misuse and safeguarding of citizen rights, PTI earlier reported.

The panel is chaired by Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor. The panel had also invited the officials from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to present their version amid the ongoing row between Twitter and the Centre.

“This will be a continuation of discussions with the social media groups. The panel will discuss the IT regulation rules and some of the recent developments, including the ‘manipulated media’ controversy, Twitter’s India officials being questioned by Delhi Police, and the intermediary guidelines and their compliance,” source in the Parliament had said earlier.

Twitter Lost Intermediary Status: IT Min

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday, said that Twitter lost its intermediary status and has become liable under Indian laws, including the Indian Penal Code.

“We gave them (Twitter) three months. Others have followed, they haven't. Rule 7 of the (IT) guidelines says that if you don't comply then under Section 79, then you may lose intermediary status and may become liable to other laws, including penal laws of the country,” Prasad told news agency ANI.

Questioning Twitter's non-compliance with IT rules, Prasad said, "When Indian companies do business or pharma companies go to manufacture in US, do they follow American laws or not? If you have to do business here, you're welcome to criticise the PM, all of us...but you've to obey India's Constitution and rules."

Prasad also alleged that Twitter treats the US and India differently. Citing the incident at the Capitol, Prasad told ANI, "When Capitol Hill in Washington was raided, you block Twitter account of all, including the then President Donald Trump. During farmers strike, Red Fort was raided by terrorist supporters showing naked swords, injuring policemen and pushing them in a ditch, then it's freedom of expression."

Background

Prasad’s statement had come hours after Twitter, in a first such case against it, was named in an FIR by the Ghaziabad Police accusing the social media platform of not deleting tweets with regard to an incident involving a 72-year-old Muslim man, Abdul Samad Saifi, being brutally thrashed in Ghaziabad’s Loni.

This gave rise to questions about the legal protection accorded to Twitter under Section 79 of the IT Act.

(With inputs from NDTV)

Also Read: Section 79 of the IT Act Protects Twitter From the Centre’s Action

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