The Karnataka High Court dismissed Twitter's petition challenging the blocking orders issued by the Central government and imposed a fine of Rs 50 lakh on the microblogging platform. The court deemed Twitter's petition to be without merit.
Justice Krishna S. Dixit, heading the bench, ordered Twitter to pay the exemplary costs of Rs 50 lakh to the Karnataka Legal Services Authority within 45 days. Additionally, a penalty of Rs 5,000 per day would be incurred for any delay in payment.
The bench remarked that Twitter had not provided sufficient reasons for not complying with the central government's blocking demands. It emphasized that Twitter, being a billionaire company, was not an ordinary individual or farmer.
The bench expressed agreement with the submissions made by the Union of India, citing laws from various countries, including the United States, Australia, and Canada, as well as judgments from English courts and the Indian Supreme Court, regarding the far-reaching consequences of tweets.
The Karnataka High Court delivered its ruling on Friday, responding to Twitter's petition challenging the blocking orders issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Twitter argued that these orders, issued under the IT Act, displayed an excessive exercise of power and were disproportionate.
The microblogging platform claimed that the Ministry had served a notice warning of severe consequences, including criminal proceedings, for non-compliance with the blocking orders. Twitter contended that the Ministry failed to provide reasons for blocking specific accounts, as required by the rules.
Previously, the Karnataka High Court had issued a notice to the Central government regarding the blocking orders issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for nearly 1,100 Twitter accounts.
The order was issued after senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, representing Twitter, argued that the continued blocking would result in the closure of Twitter's entire business. According to the rules, reasons for blocking accounts must be recorded and provided to the microblogging platform, a requirement that is currently not being fulfilled, Rohatgi argued.
(With inputs from IANS)