Millennium Post

HC lifts its ban on TikTok with condition there should be no obscene videos

Madurai: The Madras High Court bench here on Wednesday lifted its ban on Chinese social media app TikTok with the condition that the platform should not be used to host obscene videos.

A bench of justices N Kirubakaran and S S Sundar, which heard the matter as per the orders of the Supreme Court, warned if any controversial video violating its condition was found uploaded using the app, it would be considered a contempt of court.

The high court on April 3 directed the Centre to ban the app "TikTok", used to create and share short videos, as it voiced concern over "pornographic and inappropriate content" being made available through such platforms.

It had passed an interim order on a public interest litigation which sought a ban on the app on the ground that it allegedly carried contents that "degraded culture and encouraged pornography".

Hearing a plea by the Chinese company ByteDance, which owns TikTok, challenging the ban, the Supreme Court refused to stay the high court order but asked it to raise its grievances before the high court.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna on Monday directed the high court to decide the plea for vacating its ban order.

It also said if the Madurai bench does not decide the plea for interim relief on Wednesday, its ban order will stand vacated.

When the matter came up before the high court, the bench passed the order lifting its ban after hearing submissions by central government advocate, counsel for TikTok and amicus curiae Arvind Datar. The counsel for the Centre submitted that a committee had been formed to recommend ways to regulate apps like TikTok. Once the panel submits it's recommendation, a bill will be passed in Parliament.

The company's counsel said they were only an intermediary under the Information Technology Act.

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