SC asks govt if it will soon frame law to regulate social media

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Published: September 14, 2019 7:21:10 AM

The apex court posted the Facebook's transfer plea on the mandatory linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar number or any other government-authorised identity proof for hearing on September 24.

social media, social media regulation, social media profiles, social media linking, Facebook, industry newsBoth Facebook and WhatsApp have now filed appeals against various Madras High Court orders that widened the scope of the PIL. (Reuters)

Observing that the issue of linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar needs to be decided at the earliest, the Supreme Court on Friday asked the government to clarify if it is framing any law soon to regulate social media.

A Bench led by Justice Deepak Gupta asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta if the government is coming up with laws, including intermediary liability rules, soon. “We may give time only if Union of India is framing something that will be released in the very near future… Is the government contemplating something on this very soon as that may have the bearing on the case,” the Judge asked.

The apex court posted the Facebook’s transfer plea on the mandatory linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar number or any other government-authorised identity proof for hearing on September 24.

Both Facebook and WhatsApp have now filed appeals against various Madras High Court orders that widened the scope of the PIL. These appeals will be also heard together with the transfer plea on the next date of hearing.

“At this stage, we do not know whether we could decide this issue or the high court will decide,” the Bench said, adding that it is not inclined to go into the merits of the case but would simply decide the transfer petition filed by Facebook.

Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the Bench that it has no objection to transfer of the cases from high courts to the top court, but lot of time has been consumed in Madras High Court where the hearing is at an advanced stage.

The Tamil Nadu government had on Thursday claimed in the apex court that Facebook and other social media companies were not complying with Indian laws, resulting in “increased lawlessness” and difficulties in “detecting crimes”.

By filing this transfer petition, Facebook’s “whole attempt” is to “evade compliance with Indian law,” it said, adding that “…the local law enforcement authorities have attempted to seek information from these companies for the investigation and detection of crimes on several occasions. These companies, instead of replying and providing information in a bonafide manner, have asked the authorities to send letters rogatory etc, despite operating on Indian soil, and have in all cases failed to provide complete information,” the state government stated.

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