X Corp files appeal in Karnataka High Court against single-judge order dismissing its plea; reasonable judgement, say advocates

The single-judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit had also imposed a cost of ₹50 lakh on Twitter in its judgement on 30 June.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Aug 03, 2023 | 11:48 AM Updated Aug 03, 2023 | 5:06 PM

X Corp files appeal in Karnataka High Court against single-judge order dismissing its plea; reasonable judgement, say advocates

Microblogging site X Corp — formerly Twitter — has approached the Karnataka High Court against an earlier order passed by a single-judge bench which dismissed its petition challenging the blocking orders by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeiTY).

The blocking orders by the Centre were issued under section 69-A of the Information Technology (IT) Act on 30 June and the single-judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit also imposed a penalty of ₹50 lakh on the microblogging platform.

The appeal filed by Twitter (X Corp) will come up before a division bench of the high court.

Its main contention was that the MeiTY had issued blocking orders under Section 69A of the IT Act without issuing notice to the account holders.

Related: Karnataka High Court dismisses Twitter petition

Appeal by X Corp

The appeal, filed on 1 August, is yet to be listed for hearing by the high court.

The appeal challenges the imposition of the ₹50 lakh cost as “unjust and excessive” and has sought an interim relief of keeping it in suspension.

X Corp was ordered to pay the fine by 14 August by the single-judge bench. The order also specified that if the company failed to comply, an additional fine of ₹5,000 per day would be imposed on it.

X Corp had claimed that the government had, between 2 February, 2021, and 28 February, 2022, issued 10 orders directing it to block 1,474 accounts, 175 Tweets, 256 URLs, and one hashtag. Twitter challenged the orders related to 39 of these URLs.

The Karnataka High Court single-judge bench had framed eight questions, and only the question of locus standi for filing the petition was answered in favour of X Corp.

The court had rejected all contentions of X Corp and imposed the cost on it.

The court had pointed out the company not complying with the government orders for more than a year and then approaching it.

Also Read: ‘Indian government threatened to shut down Twitter’

‘Just judgement’

Meanwhile, senior advocates of the high court were of the opinion that the judgement was just since the single-judge bench considered all the aspects of the case.

“X Corp has filed an appeal as they have got the right under section 4 of the High Courts Act. I have gone through the judgement in detail. In my opinion, the single judge has elaborately considered each and every ground urged by X Corp. In comparison with the law existing across the globe, he has passed a very beautiful judgement,” senior high court advocate Prasanna Kumar P told South First.

“The cost imposed appears to be a realistic one as, in the present times, a flea-bite cost cannot be imposed on litigants,” he added.

“The judgement rendered by the honourable high court is a well-reasoned one, so the option for X Corp is to follow the law of the land as mandated by the honourable court,” another senior high court advocate Siji Malayil told South First.

“As far as the cost is concerned, sound reasons have been assigned by the honourable judge while imposing the cost considering the facts and circumstances of the case,” he added.

(With PTI inputs)