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“Law Of Land Supreme”: New IT Minister’s Message To Twitter

Ashwini Vaishnaw replaces outgoing IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, who sparred several times with Twitter over the new IT rules, frequently criticising the company for non-compliance.

New IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has picked up where his predecessor – Ravi Shankar Prasad – left off, telling Twitter that “the law of the land is supreme” and urging it to follow the rules.

The message comes amid a bitter row between Twitter and the government over the new IT rules that make social media websites more accountable for third-party content; experts say this means Twitter has lost legal immunity with respect to claims against user-generated content.

Earlier today the company told the Delhi High Court it needs eight weeks to appoint a grievance officer who is an Indian citizen. The rules mandate hiring grievance and compliance officers, as well as another to coordinate with take-down requests from the country’s law enforcement agencies.

Twitter is weeks past the deadline set by the government to appoint an India-based grievance officer.

“How long does your process take? If Twitter thinks it can take as long it wants… I will not allow that,” Justice Rekha Palli of the Delhi High Court had said.

Twitter had previously appointed Dharmendra Chatur as its grievance officer, but he stepped down just days later, leaving Twitter in violation of the rules and increasing pressure on the company.

Outgoing IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad sparred several times with Twitter on this issue, frequently criticizing the company for non-compliance and failure to follow laws in India.

That sparring included an angry outburst after Twitter temporarily blocked access to his official handle.

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