The prospective amendment will take place at some point in time and these cases will perhaps have to be decided as per the existing scheme: Centre
The Court was hearing a clutch of pleas filed by petitioners against suspension of their social media accounts
The Centre is also likely to issue guidelines for social media influencers in the next 15 days
The Centre on Wednesday (September 7) reportedly told the Delhi High Court that it would introduce a framework to regulate social media platforms ‘at some point in time’.
The Court was hearing a clutch of pleas filed by petitioners against suspension of their social media accounts.
Citing the prospective nature of the proposed framework, the Centre said that existing cases of suspension of social media accounts would have to be decided within the contours of the existing regulations.
“We have checked up in terms of your lordship’s (last) order. The amendment will take place at some point in time, we don’t really know (when). It will be prospective and (therefore) these cases will perhaps have to be decided (as per the existing scheme),” advocate Kirtiman Singh appearing for the Centre was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Over the course of the hearing, the HC sought more clarity on any proposed framework and raised questions as to why should the existing grievances not be dealt with under the proposed law.
“Before we enter into judgement, we also want to understand if there is any regulatory mechanism that they are proposing to implement (and) whether that would have any impact on this batch,” the court noted.
The Court granted the Centre further time to apprise it of subsequent development and posted the matter for hearing on December 19. The single judge bench comprising Justice Yashwant Varma observed that if the scope of the regulatory power that the Centre proposes to invoke is known, then the HC will also know the contours of its jurisdiction in the matter.
The Centre, in a previous affidavit before the HC, noted that social media platforms have to respect the fundamental rights of the citizens and conform to the Constitution of India. The submission further noted that complete de-platforming of users is against the spirit of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
However, the affidavit added that social media accounts could be suspended only in cases such as court orders, matters related to sovereignty, security and integrity of India, sexual abuse material, among others.
Guidelines For Social Media Influencers
The submissions came on the day reports said that guidelines for social media influencers could be released in the next 15 days. Sources told PTI that the Department of Consumer Affairs will come out with ‘dos and don’ts’ for influencers, making it mandatory for them to declare their association with the product they endorse.
The report further added that social media influencers will be bound to put disclaimers in all such endorsement posts. Besides, the department has also reportedly completed the process of developing a framework to curb fake reviews posted on e-commerce websites and is likely to be released shortly.
This adds to the growing list of hostilities between social media platforms and the government of India. Earlier in July, Twitter moved Karnataka HC seeking quashing of 39 ‘blocking orders’ issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) between February 2021 and February 2022.