The Madras High Court’s Madurai bench will hear the TikTok case on Wednesday (April 24) and a final decision on the petition is expected as well. This comes after the Supreme Court directed the high court to decide on the plea by this date. For those who are not aware, TikTok is unofficially banned in India from being downloaded, and was pulled from the Google Play Store and the Apple app store after the high court’s order.
The petition, which was filed in the high court called for a ban on the app, saying it put the lives of children in danger and exposed them to paedophiles. TikTok’s parent company, which is ByteDance (India) Technology Private Limited, had then filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the ban. The top court had then said it would let the Madras High Court hear the case, and only listed the matter for April 22.
On April 22, a Supreme Court bench consisting of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna ordered that the high court will hear and decide the prayer for vacation of the interim stay. Appearing for TikTok, senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi has sought a stay on the ex-parte order by the Madras High Court.
The SC order further notes that if the high court does not decide on the petition, then its ex-parte stay order shall stand vacated. This would mean that the ban will no longer stand and the app will once again be available for download, if the court does not come to a final conclusion.
Earlier, the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court had appointed Arvind Datar as amicus curae (independent counsel) in the matter. At the time TikTok had issued this statement saying, “We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curae (independent counsel) to the court. We have faith in the Indian judicial system and we are optimistic about an outcome that would allow over 120 million monthly active users in India to continue using TikTok to showcase their creativity and capture moments that matter in their everyday lives.”
“Irrespective of what’s going on we are hoping that the government comes up with a very positive response. I have full faith in that,” Sumedhas Rajgopal, Strategy and Entertainment Lead of TikTok India, had told indianexpress.com in an interaction.
“It is an interim ban. For us, the business is going on. The community is super active, where we still have active conversations,” Rajgopal said. The app has over 120 million active users in India, one of its largest markets.
Rajgopal said the company was open to addressing the concerns… “to understand what the community is talking about and what the government wants”. He said the platform was trying to make a lot of efforts to integrate those conversations in order to ensure that this is a safer space for anyone to be involved. “So we have a safety centre and are empowering even a creator with a lot of tools to safeguard himself.”