The Delhi High Court took strong objection to Twitter appointing Vinay Prakash, the new Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) and Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), as a "contingent worker" whose services have been contracted through a third party.
Expressing her unhappiness over the affidavits filed, Justice Rekha Palli gave Twitter one more week to file a "better affidavit". Justice Palli further observed that Twitter was in "serious non-compliance of the IT Rules" after perusing details of Prakash's appointment.
During the last hearing on July 8, the high court had said the government could take action against Twitter in accordance with the law over non-compliance with the Information and Technology Rules 2021. Following this, on July 13 Twitter and Prakash filed affidavits stating his role.
Serious Non-Compliance of Rules: HC to Twitter
The high court said Twitter was in serious non-compliance with the IT Rules. "What is this term 'Contingent worker'? What does this mean? This gives the impression that his duties are based on some contingencies," Justice Palli observed. "Who is the third-party contractor? That also we don't know. I'm not happy with this affidavit anyway," the judge added.
"I don't know about your company (Twitter), Do you even want to comply (with the new IT Rules)?" the judge asked Twitter's counsel senior advocate Sajjan Poovayyah.
The high court said Twitter was making its case "worse" than it already was after Poovayyah said that the company decided to use the term 'contingent' over 'interim'. The high court had taken objection to the appointment of 'interim' RGO/CCO's in its last hearing.
The Centre also expressed its strong objection over Twitter's alleged non-compliance with the new IT Rules which mandate the appointment of the RGO, CCO, and a nodal officer. "The IT Rules specify that a senior employee has to be appointed. It cannot be a contingent worker," Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma said.
"First, they said interim, now they say contingent. It's been months. This is repeated non-compliance by nuanced terminologies and seeking time," Sharma added. "Your lordship is correct, if they want to comply, comply wholeheartedly. This constant non-compliance using nuance terminology cannot be accepted anymore," he said.
After these observations, Poovayyah assured the court that Twitter would file a clearly worded and transparent affidavit in this matter. The court, though granting time, said: "The officer himself says he is not an employee. It's a chief compliance officer, there has to be some seriousness about the post. This in itself is in the teeth of the role. This is a 31-year-old person. What is this?"
Concluding the matter, the court also directed Twitter to clearly set out the details of the person who is being appointed as CCO/RGO. IT further directed Twitter to furnish reasons why nodal contact person has not been contracted and the likely time when it proposes to appoint the same.
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