Social media video-sharing app TikTok on Thursday sought dismissal of a plea seeking to ban the app and told the Bombay High Court there is a laid-down procedure under the Information Technology Act to filter any objectionable content online.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhushan P Dharmadhikari and Justice Nitin R Borkar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Heena Darvesh, mother of three minor children, seeking a ban on the popular app.
Darvesh, through advocate Ali Kaashif Khan Deshmukh, has claimed the app is affecting the mental health of young people and sought from the government the records of deaths due to accidents caused by use of the app.
Senior counsel Milind Sathe, appearing for the video sharing app, opposed the PIL and said the plea is not maintainable as the grievance can be raised through mechanism provided under the law and the high court cannot deal with it.
“There is a procedure laid down under Section 69-A of the Information Technology Act which says if a person has any grievance regarding online content then he or she can approach the nodal officer and seek for it to be removed,” Sathe said.
Moreover, Darvesh in her plea alleged the app is causing hatred, disbalance and enmity among religious groups and has affected the country’s diversity. The plea also stated that TikTok is wasting time and resources of the executive and judiciary.
In April last year, the Madras High Court passed an order prohibiting the download and use of TikTok and expressed concern that the app hosts inappropriate content including pornography, which is available for access to children. It had also expressed that minors are exposed to strangers online through TikTok.
TikTok had subsequently challenged the Madras High Court ruling in the Supreme Court and claimed the high court order was based on exaggerations made by petitioner in the case. The apex court then directed the Madras High Court to take a call which ultimately lifted the ban on the app.
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