The Delhi High Court on Monday (14th June 2021) issued a notice to the Centre, Facebook and Instagram, seeking their response on a plea raising concern over the publication of highly obnoxious and objectionable posts on Hindu gods on Instagram.

Petitioner Aditya Singh Deshwal found the highly objectionable posts by an Instagram user going by the name ‘Islam Ki Sherni’. According to the petitioner, the content had abusive language on Hindu gods and goddesses along with their vulgar representation in the form of cartoons and graphics.

The plea contended that even after regularly complaining to the grievance officer of Instagram under the new IT Rules, no action was taken. Therefore, the petitioner moved the Delhi High Court.

Senior advocate G. Tushar Rao and advocate Ayush Saxena, representing the petitioner, submitted before the court that Instagram has failed to comply with the new IT Rules, 2021 in its true sense.

The petitioner raised multiple legal grounds concerning the new IT Rules along with his prayer of immediate removal of such obnoxious content. The petitioner’s counsel argued that notice should be issued to all the respondents seeking their reply on the legal grounds raised in the petition.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi, representing Instagram and Facebook, apprised the court that the user who had uploaded the content has been blocked and the content has been removed, therefore, the petition should be disposed of. After hearing the arguments, a bench of Justice Rekha Palli sought response from the Centre, Instagram and Facebook on the plea.

One of the legal grounds in the petition said: “Whether the direction of giving acknowledgement within 24 hours of receipt of complaint by grievance officer as per Rule 3 (2) (1) (a) of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 is mandatory or directory in nature? If it is mandatory in nature, then can Respondent No. 2 being the grievance officer of Instagram, which is a Significant Social Media Intermediary (SSMI), refuse to do compliance of the same?”

Raising another legal ground, the plea queried: “Whether in the light of Rule 3 (2) (1) (a) of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, the same grievance officer can be appointed for two SSMIs, which have followers of more than 50 lakhs and whether the same shall be considered as true compliance of these said rules in its true sense?”

News reproduced verbatim from ANI feed, title changed.

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