Social media platforms must uphold fundamental rights of citizens, says Center in Delhi HC

The Center told the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that an individual’s liberty and freedom cannot be hindered or given up in the wake of social and technological progress and that social media platforms must uphold the basic rights of citizens. and abide by the Constitution of India. In an affidavit filed in response to a Twitter user’s petition against the microblogging platform suspending their account, the central government said social media platforms should not delete the account themselves or suspend it completely in any case.

The center explained that a platform can give notice to the user and request the removal of specific information or content that violates the platform’s policies or applicable information technology rules. (guidelines for intermediaries) and only in cases where the majority of content/posts/tweets in a user account are illegal, the platform may take the extreme measure of deleting the entire information or suspending the entire account. He said that the complete removal of the platform is against the spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India and if only any part or content is illegal then the platform can take action. proportionate measures to only remove this alleged information and not completely suspend the user account.

The central government has stressed that a major social media intermediary must be held accountable for subjugating and supplanting fundamental rights like the right to freedom of speech and expression, otherwise it would have disastrous consequences for any democratic nation. . Platforms must respect the fundamental rights of citizens and must not delete the account itself or completely suspend the user’s account in any case. That deletion of all information or the user account should be a last resort and that the platform may at all times endeavor to protect the fundamental rights of users by following the principles of natural justice and granting a delay and an opportunity reasonable to the user to explain their position, said the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) through attorney Manish Mohan.

SSMIs must be held accountable for subjugating and supplanting fundamental rights like the right to freedom of speech and expression, otherwise it would have disastrous consequences for any democratic nation. It is humbly maintained that the liberty and freedom of any individual cannot be set aside or thrown away in the wake of social and technological progress, he added. Stating that it is the guardian of the fundamental rights of users in cyberspace, the Center said that a social network account can only be suspended or deleted in cases such as the interests of sovereignty, security and integrity of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or under a court order or the content is manifestly illegal, such as sexual abuse material, etc.

In all other cases, the User shall be given notice and a transparent process of natural justice, including the right to go to the Platform’s Complaints Officer and the appropriate provision for appeals to to ensure a transparent and fair process that meets all the principles of natural justice. Any complete misrepresentation is contrary to the spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Indian Constitution to which every citizen is entitled, according to the affidavit. “In the considered opinion of the Respondent Respondent, if only part or a few contents are illegal, the platform may take proportionate measures to remove only such alleged information and not suspend the user’s account completely”, a- he added.

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