Home / News / Twitter to place govt's 'blocking orders' before Karnataka HC in sealed covers

Social media giant Twitter Inc has been allowed by the Karnataka High Court (HC) to place a number of “blocking orders" issued by the Central government before it in sealed envelopes.

Justice Krishna S Dixit, who has been hearing the case, has also directed Twitter that the sealed envelops of “blocking orders" issued by the Union government has to be shared with the advocate for the government.

Meanwhile, the advocate of the government has requested the Karnataka High Court that the proceedings of this case be held in-camera, which means that it would be a private hearing. The parties that are not part of the proceedings will not be allowed to attend the hearings.

The high court has, however, said the request will be considered.

Twitter Inc had approached the Karnataka High Court against 10 different "blocking orders", issued by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

These “blocking orders" from the government are variously dated between February 2, 2021, and February 28, 2022.

The orders include orders to block accounts, tweets, URLs and hashtags.

On Tuesday, July 26, the single judge bench was informed by Twitter's counsel Mukul Rohatgi that MeitY has failed to record reasons for ordering the closure of accounts and the procedures and safeguards of the IT Rules 2009 require the reasons to be recorded.

After issuing notice to the Centre in the petition, the hearing of the case was adjourned to August 12.

According to a document filed by Twitter, the social networking site was asked by the government to block multiple accounts and some tweets from advocacy group Freedom House, journalists, politicians, and supporters of farmers' protests last year.

The requests from the government were sent between January 5, 2021, and December 29, 2021.

The document read that the government had asked Twitter to block few tweets from Freedom House that spoke about the state of internet freedom in 2020 and noted its sharp decline in India.

(With agency inputs)

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