The Indian government on Wednesday expressed displeasure over Twitter's delayed compliance on its order to remove "provocative" tweets amid the ongoing farmers' protests.
IT Secretary Ajay Prakash Sawhney expressed Centre's displeasure to Twitter's management.
An official statement issued on late Wednesday night said the Secretary told Monique Meche, Vice President, Global Public Policy and Jim Baker, Deputy General Counsel and Vice President Legal of Twitter that delayed compliance to lawfully passed orders are "meaningless".
"Lawfully passed orders are binding on any business entity. They must be obeyed immediately. If they are executed days later, it becomes meaningless," Sawhney was quoted as saying in the statement.
The official expressed his deep disappointment to Twitter leadership about the manner in which Twitter has unwillingly, grudgingly and with great delay complied with the substantial parts of the order, the statement said.
He also told Twitter that in India its Constitution and laws are supreme.
It is expected that responsible entities not only reaffirm but remain committed to compliance to the law of land, he said.
Freedom of expression subject to reasonable restrictions
Sawhney told the Twitter representatives that in India: "We value freedom and we value criticism because it is part of our democracy."
However, he added that freedom of expression is not absolute and it is subject to reasonable restrictions as mentioned in Article 19 (2) of the Constitution of India.
In view of the order issued by the Centre directing Twitter to remove Tweets and accounts using hashtag related to 'farmer genocide' and accounts supported by 'Khalistan sympathisers and backed by Pakistan' and blog post issued by Twitter earlier on Wednesday, the meeting took place as per schedule, said the statement.
The development comes after Twitter initially did not comply to the government's order on removing tweets and accounts talking of 'farmer genocide'. It has however started taking steps in that direction.
The IT Ministry said the Twitter leadership affirmed their commitment towards following Indian laws and rules.
They also expressed their continuing commitment towards building their services in India. They have also requested for better engagement between the government and Twitter's global team, said the statement.
MeitY press statement below:
(With inputs from IANS)