A very hotly contested battle has seemingly come to a close. The government on Tuesday told the Delhi High Court that Twitter is prima facie now fully compliant with the IT Rules after the company made permanent appointments to the positions of chief compliance, nodal and grievance officers in accordance with the rules.
Last week, we reported that Twitter had made permanent appointments to these posts which are a key requirement under the new rules. Vinay Prakash has been appointed as the chief compliance and grievance officer while former Bytedance executive Shahin Komath has been appointed as the nodal contact person.
Twitter had earlier made appointments to these posts on an “interim” basis and later told the court that these were “contingent” workers appointed by a third party contractor. However, the court had given the company an earful over the use of the term ‘contingent’ and gave the company a last chance to comply with the rules.
Twitter’s counsel senior advocate Sajan Poovayya informed the court that Vinay Prakash has been appointed by Twitter USA as the Public Policy Director and his business designation in India would be that of compliance and grievance officer.
Prakash will report directly to Jim Baker, who is Twitter’s US-based deputy general counsel.
Twitter had initially hired contractual workers to these positions because the company did not have a physical presence in India and the appointment was done on the expectation that it would be converted to a permanent role as soon as possible, the company told the court.
There was also a rare show of camaraderie between the government and Twitter by the end of the hearing on Tuesday. “All’s well that ends well, and the long rope given to Twitter by the court actually ensured compliance,” said Solicitor General Chetan Sharma who was appearing for the union government.
This marks the end of what was arguably one of the most hotly contested battles between the Indian government and a social media company. The two had been at loggerheads since the IT Rules came into effect on May 26. The government had openly criticised the social media juggernaut over its non-compliance with the rules, saying that no company was above the law of the land.
The court has listed the case on October 5 so that the government can file its official reply.