Set minimum age to access social media, says Karnataka high court

05:13PM Wed 20 Sep, 2023

BENGALURU: 20 September 2023 (Agencies ) The Karnataka high court on Tuesday said it would be "better for the nation" if access to social media is restricted for youngsters, especially schoolchildren, and suggested that the threshold age for access should be 21 or 18 years when they get the right to vote, reports P Vasanth Kumar.
Resuming the hearing on a writ appeal filed by X Corp, formerly Twitter Inc, an high court division bench comprising Justices G Narendar and Vijayakumar A Patil said that of late, school-going children are so addicted to social media that it would be "better for the nation" if the same is restricted for them.
The bench indicated that it would pass orders on Wednesday, on two interlocutory appeals (IAs) filed by the appellant, including the one seeking for adding grounds in the case. The bench further added that the only aspect to be examined is to whether the content in question violates Section 69A (1) and (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. "If these provisions are violated, then the appellant (X Corp) would have to comply with blocking orders," the bench said.
Earlier, the US-based multi-blogging platform's counsel informed the court that the challenge in the appeal is confined to the single-judge's observations vis-a-vis the interpretation of the law on blocking posts and accounts. On August 10, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Prasanna B Varale had passed a conditional interim order of stay directing X Corp to deposit Rs 25 lakh within a week.
This works out to 50% of the Rs 50 lakh cost imposed by the single bench in its order dated June 30, 2023, wherein the appellant's petition challenging a series of blocking orders issued by the central government between February 2, 2021 and February 28, 2022 period came to be dismissed.
In the appeal, X Corp has claimed that the single bench had erroneously held that Section 69A(1) of the Information Technology Act does not require blocking orders to contain reasons in writing. Further, the appellant argued that the failure on the part of central government to comply with rule 14 of the
Website Blocking Rules has been ignored by the single bench.
"The impugned order erroneously held that, although appellant has locus standi to bring a petition under Article 226, the appellant cannot claim protection of Article 21 of the Constitution 'because it is not a natural person'.
It should be set aside as it failed to follow the plain language of Section 69(1) of IT Act that reasons must be recorded in writing in a blocking order, and is contrary to the judgement of the Supreme Court in (the) Shreya Singhal case," X Corp has said.