Twitter is suing the Indian government. Yeah, you heard that right. The lawsuit, filed by Twitter in the Karnataka High Court yesterday, aims to challenge the government’s content takedown orders on the platform.
Twitter is Suing the Indian Government
As Reuters first reported, the lawsuit alleges abuse of power by government officials to remove content shared on Twitter. According to the report, the posts removed over the past year include sensitive topics such as tweets seeking an independent Sikh state, alleged misinformation about farmer protests, and tweets that critiqued the way the government handled the pandemic.
The posts also reportedly include political content shared by official handles of political parties. “Blocking of such information is a violation of the freedom of speech guaranteed to citizen-users of the platform. Further, the content at issue does not have any apparent proximate relationship to the grounds under Section 69A,” Twitter said in the lawsuit.
Responding to the lawsuit, India’s IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said companies should abide by the laws of India. “Be it any company, in any sector, they should abide the laws of India,” IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was quoted as saying by ANI.
Meanwhile, junior IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar tweeted the following: “In India,all incldng foreign Internet intermediaries/ platforms have right to court n judicial review. But equally ALL intermediary/ platforms operating here,have unambiguous obligation to comply with our laws n rules.”
Twitter is not the only tech platform to sue the Indian government over the past couple of years. Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp filed a complaint with the Delhi High Court in May last year over the new media rules. However, that case is still pending. Going by history, it could take a while before we hear a verdict on Twitter’s new lawsuit too.