The Delhi High Court on Wednesday took strong objection on the affidavits, filed on behalf of Twitter, stating that it has appointed chief compliance officer and grievance officer as “contingent workers”.
Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, representing Twitter, submitted before the court that two affidavits have been filed in connection with the appointments of chief compliance officer and grievance officer and the microblogging site will no longer use the word “interim”.
A single judge bench of Justice Rekha Palli, however, objected to the use of word “contingent worker” in the appointments. “What is this term contingent worker? What does this mean? This gives an impression that his duties are based on some contingencies.”
Citing the affidavit, the court said this is “even worse” and demanded a clearer affidavit.
It pointed out that chief compliance officer says he is not an employee and has been engaged as a “contingent worker”. “It’s a chief compliance officer, there has to be some seriousness about the post. This in itself is in the teeth of the rule,” said the court.
It also questioned Twitter as why it made the appointment via a third-party contractor whose name has also not been revealed, as it remarked that the affidavit “shows total non-compliance”. “You do business here, earn so much revenue but don’t comply with rules… the court has given you a long rope,” it noted.
“This is not done. Tell me. I don’t understand, you are saying contingent, this is not compliance.
“Are you serious?” the court asked Twitter on replacing the word “interim” with “contingent”.
Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, representing the Centre, said: “This is repeated non-compliance by nuance terminologies and seeking time. Your lordship is correct, if they want to comply, comply wholeheartedly.”
Poovayya then assured the court that a clearly-worded affidavit will be filed by Twitter in the matter.
After hearing arguments, the high court gave one week, as the final opportunity, to Twitter to file a better affidavit in terms of the earlier orders passed. The court adjourned the matter to August 6.
The High Court was hearing a plea filed by Amit Acharya, through advocate Akash Vajpai, against the non-compliance by Twitter India and Twitter Inc with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021)