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Centre free to act against Twitter if it breaches IT rules: Delhi HC

Ashish Sinha

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Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that there is no interim protection for Twitter and the Centre is free to take any action if it breaches the new information technology rules in India.

“It is made clear that since this court has only granted time to Twitter to file its affidavits to show compliance of the rules and there is no interim protection granted, it will be open for the Union of India to take action against Twitter in case of any breach of the rules,” the court said. Hearing in the matter has been adjourned till 28 July.

During the day, Twitter has filed an affidavit before the Delhi High Court and said it needs eight weeks to appoint regular resident grievance redressal officers under the IT rules. The company is also in the process of setting up a liaison office in India. The liaison office in India will be the permanent physical contact address for all communication under the new IT Rules, Twitter said.

Twitter also mentioned that the first compliance report under the new IT Rules can be expected by July 11. “Twitter is engaged in performing a commercial activity and the contract between the user and Twitter is towards the advancement of the commercial agenda of the company.”

“While Twitter is striving to comply with the 2021 Rules, Twitter reserves its right to challenge the legality, validity, & vires of the Rules, and Twitter’s submissions regarding compliance are filed without prejudice to its right to challenge the Rules,” it added.

On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court had pulled up Twitter for delay in appointment of a Resident Grievance Officer as per New IT rules. “If Twitter thinks it can take as long as it wants in our country, that will not be allowed,” the Court had said.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Advocate Amit Acharya alleging that Twitter has not complied with the Centre’s IT Rules to appoint a resident grievance officer, seeking directions to the social media platform to comply with the rules.

On Monday, the Centre told the Delhi High Court “In spite of three months’ time granted to all SSMIs (significant social media intermediaries) to comply with the IT Rules 2021, having expired on May 26, Twitter Inc has failed to fully comply with the same.”

The central government in its affidavit further said that Twitter Inc had initially appointed the interim Resident Grievance Officer and the interim Nodal Contact Person. Later, Twitter Inc informed the answering Respondent that the said interim Resident Grievance Officer and Nodal Officer have withdrawn/resigned from their positions. As per the details gleaned from the Twitter Inc website/mobile application, in the interim, the grievances from India are being handled by personnel of Twitter Inc situated in the United States of America which amounts to non-compliance with the IT Rules 2021, it added.

Twitter has failed to comply with IT Rules 2021 as of July 1 for not appointing Chief Compliance Officer, Resident Grievance Officer, Nodal Contact Person (even on an interim basis), and not showing physical contact address on Twitter website, it added.

The IT ministry further said that IT Rules, 2021 are law of the land and Twitter is mandatorily required to comply with it. “Any non-compliance amounts to breach of provisions of IT Rules thereby leading to Twitter losing immunity conferred under Section 79 (1) of IT Act, 2000,” it said.

The affidavit has been filed in response to a plea by lawyer Amit Acharya, in which he claimed non-compliance of the Centre’’s new IT Rules by the platform. On 3 July, Twitter had told the Delhi High Court that it is in the “final stages” of appointing an interim chief compliance officer and an interim resident grievance officer under the new Information Technology (IT) Rules. The micro-blogging site had also said it may fall within the definition of a “significant social media intermediary” under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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BILL AND MELINDA GATES ARE OFFICIALLY DIVORCED

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WASHINGTON: The divorce between Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates has been finalised. As per CNN report, filing with the King County Superior Court in Washington made the move official. Melinda French Gates filed the petition for divorce in King County, Washington.

Bill and Melinda announced in May that they would be ending their marriage after 27 years, saying, “we no longer believe we can grow together as a couple in this next phase of our lives.”

However, the duo said they will continue to work together at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Meanwhile, the foundation said last month that the organisation was planning a two-year trial period to see if the pair could continue working together effectively.

“If after two years either decide they cannot continue to work together as co-chairs, French Gates will resign her position as co-chair and trustee,” CEO Mark Suzman said. In the weeks following the initial announcement of the divorce, Bill faced allegations of questionable workplace conduct in the early years at Microsoft.

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BLINKEN ANNOUNCES US REFUGEE ADMISSIONS PROGRAMME FOR AFGHAN NATIONALS

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US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a US refugee admissions programme Priority 2 designation for Afghan nationals on Monday. The US is weeks away from completing military withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Blinken, during a press briefing, said, “The State Department is announcing a new resettlement program for Afghans who assisted the United States, but who do not qualify for special immigrant visas. We’ve created a Priority-2 or P-2 designation, granting access to the US refugee admissions program for many of these Afghans and their family members.”

He said that even as the US forces withdraw from Afghanistan, the US will remain deeply engaged with the country.

“We’ll continue to work toward an Afghanistan, where all Afghans can live in safety and security, and we will continue our support for Afghan institutions, and for the gains that the Afghan people have made over the past 20 years,” said Blinken.

“We will keep engaging intensely in diplomacy to advance negotiations between the Afghan government, the Taliban, with the goal of a political solution, which we believe is the only path to lasting peace. And we’ll keep working closely with countries in the region, which all have a stake in a stable, peaceful, democratic Afghanistan,” he stated.

Blinken said that Afghans who work with the United States or the International Security Assistance Force at some point since 2001 are facing acute fears of persecution or retribution that will likely grow as coalition forces leave the country.

He further added that “We have a special report the responsibility to these individuals. They stood with us. We will stand with them. Over the past 13 years, the State Department has issued more than 73,000 Special Immigrant Visas to eligible Afghans who have helped the United States, and also to their families. We’ll continue to welcome Afghan immigrants and refugees as our neighbours in gratitude for helping us, despite the danger. We won’t forget it.”

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AFGHAN PRESIDENT GHANI’S TIME HAS RUN OUT: TALIBAN

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KABUL: Taliban said that Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani’s “time has run out” on Monday. Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, while reacting to Ghani’s remark that the ongoing war is an external intrigue imposed on the people of Afghanistan, accused the President of lying and spreading false information.

A tweet by Mujahid said that his (Ghani’s) time is over and the announcement of warfare will not survive him. “Speech by @ashrafghani is nonsense, an attempt to control his fears & dire situation. Nation has decided to pursue & bring national traitors to justice. Declarations of war, accusations & lies cannot prolong Ghani’s life, his time has run out, God willing,” said Mujahid. 

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INDIA WANTS PEACEFUL RELATIONS, ONUS IS ON PAKISTAN: TIRUMURTI

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WASHINGTON: India’s Permanent Representative to United Nations, T.S. Tirumurti said that India desires to have peaceful and normal relations with Pakistan but in an atmosphere free from terror.

The Indian Ambassador to the UN informed that issues between the two countries should be resolved in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility, and violence and the onus is on Pakistan to create such an environment. “Pakistan should take credible and verifiable action not to allow any territory under their control to be used for cross border terrorism against India,” said Tirumurti. He also informed that India wants to keep a spotlight on counter-terrorism.

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US-China seek alignment of Afghan interests: Ned Price

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price has said that China’s interest in Afghanistan could be ‘an alignment of interest’ when it comes to what the US and China seek in Afghanistan.

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The People’s Republic of China (PRC) interest in Afghanistan could be “an alignment of interest” when it comes to what the US and China seek in Afghanistan, said US State Department spokesperson Ned Price on Monday. “There’s an alignment of interest in at least some areas when it comes to what we seek, what China seeks and what the broader international community seeks in Afghanistan,” Price told ANI on being asked what is US’ assessment of meeting between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Taliban delegation led by its Chief Negotiator Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Experts say thay although the US might once have fiercely resisted Chinese attempts to increase their influence inside Afghanistan, now Washington’s priority appears to keep away a civil war. Spokesperson Price also affirmed that is in no one’s interest to see Afghanistan descend into an all-out civil war. “It is in everyone’s interest to see a solution to the conflict that is just as durable as Afghan-led, and Afghan Owned,” he concluded.

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AMID COVID PANDEMIC, PMGKY REDUCES WORRIES OF THE POOR: PM MODI

Abhijit Bhatt

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Gandhinagar: Annotsav Day was celebrated on Tuesday on the occasion of the completion of five years of the Rupani government, as part of which a state-level program was organized in Dahod district in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a virtual dialogue with the beneficiaries of the grain welfare scheme. He asked whether the beneficiaries of Dahod and Rajkot have any problem in taking up the scheme or not. Modi said in a dialogue with the beneficiaries that the poor would get free foodgrains till Diwali. Modi praised the performance of the Gujarat government.

Prime Minister’s Poor Welfare Food Scheme is being praised all over the world. More than Rs 2 crore is being spent by the government under this scheme. The aim is that not a single person in India goes to bed hungry. Under this scheme, ration cardholders are being given double the amount of foodgrains than before. The plan is to run till Diwali.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday addressed the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana and said this scheme has reduced the worries of the poor and increased their confidence. Three and a half crore beneficiaries in Gujarat are getting the benefit of free foodgrains. “I commend the Gujarat government for this. Preference is given to workers from other parts of the country. Workers have benefited from this scheme. Gujarat is the first to offer the benefit of One Nation One Ration Card,” said the Prime Minister.

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