India Court Dismisses Twitter’s Lawsuit Against Government’s Block Orders

An Indian court has rejected Twitter's legal challenge against the federal government's block orders on tweets and accounts, resulting in the dismissal of the high-profile lawsuit

An Indian court has rejected Twitter‘s legal challenge against the federal government’s block orders on tweets and accounts, resulting in the dismissal of the high-profile lawsuit. The Karnataka High Court, in addition to dismissing the plea filed by Twitter last year, imposed a fine of 5 million Indian rupees ($61,000) on the Elon Musk-owned company. The court criticized Twitter for failing to provide reasons for the delay in complying with the amendments to India’s IT rules despite receiving notices.

In a scathing verdict, a single judge bench remarked that Twitter had been issued notices but failed to comply, and even the potential punishment of 7 years imprisonment and unlimited fines did not deter the company. The court further highlighted the significant delay in compliance, questioning the reasons behind it and comparing Twitter’s actions to those of a billion-dollar company rather than a farmer.

Twitter had filed the plea against the Indian government in the Karnataka High Court in Bengaluru last year, before Elon Musk’s takeover of the company. The lawsuit alleged that New Delhi had abused its power by ordering Twitter to remove specific tweets from its platform in an “arbitrary and disproportionate” manner. Some of the block orders targeted political content posted by official handles of political parties, according to Twitter’s claims in the lawsuit.

Elon Musk, who has a seemingly close relationship with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cited Twitter’s legal battle with the Indian government as one of the reasons for his desire to withdraw from the acquisition deal. Musk’s lawyers expressed concerns about the risks the lawsuit posed to Twitter’s third-largest market.

Twitter had complied partially with the government’s requests but sought to challenge many of the legal orders. However, under the amended IT rules in effect since 2021, Twitter had limited room to individually contest the takedown orders.

The court’s verdict on Friday follows Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey’s recent allegations that India frequently demanded the removal of certain posts and accounts, often accompanied by threats of legal consequences for noncompliance. In response, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the federal deputy minister for information technology in India, refuted Dorsey’s claims and accused him of trying to gloss over Twitter’s controversial past.

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