TikTok – Madras High Court Lifts Ban On App

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On the 24th of April, the Madras High Court lifted the ban on the mobile video making app, TikTok. While lifting the ban, the Madras High Court asked the makers to ensure they don’t distribute any pornographic content on the app.

This order by the Madras High Court came two days after the Supreme Court (SC) said if the Madras High Court refused to take a call on the ban, then the order wouldn’t be valid. While the SC earlier refused to interfere with the High Court in this case, it changed its stance after the two judge bench heard a plea from Bytedance, the founder of TikTok.

The bench, consisting of N. Kirubakaran and S.S. Sundar, made the call on lifting the ban after taking into consideration a document filed by TikTok. Furthermore, the bench also heard submissions made by Arvind Datar, the senior advocate appointed as the Amicus Curiae by the Court. Arvind Datar made a plea for TikTok by bringing into effect the importance of the Intermediary Guidelines under the Information Technology Act.

Datar said, online speech is protected under the Freedom of Speech and Expression Act. Stating this, he further added, the system cannot allow the admissal of something by making it judicially impermissible when in fact, it was statutorily permissible. He further added, it wasn’t fair to ban the app without protecting the legitimate users.

In its ruling, the Madras High Court allowed the downloading of the app because the app has regulations in place to stop abusive content from being displayed. The Court said if the regulatory mechanisms were not in place and were not followed to the letter of the law, then the Company would be held in contempt of Court.

Stay tuned for more updates.


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