Madras High Court order asking for ban on TikTok challenged in Supreme Court

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Monday indicated the apex court will look into a plea challenging an interim order of the Madras High Court to the Centre to prohibit the download of Tik Tok mobile application.

An urgent mentioning was made by senior advocate A.M. Singhvi before a Bench presided over by the CJI.

Mr. Singhvi submitted that the order was a violation of the right to free speech and expression. The High Court order does not pay heed to the protection afforded to intermediaries under the Information Technology Act.

Earlier in April, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had even ordered media houses to refrain from telecasting TikTok videos.

A Division Bench of Justices N. Kirubakaran and S.S. Sundar had even asked the Centre whether an Act similar to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of USA could be enacted to prevent children from becoming victims of cyber and online crimes.

Though the High Court did not object to TikTok being used in jest, it had, however, pointed out how the application could be used for crude humour against innocent parties and lead to violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

The High Court had observed that inappropriate contents were being made available to children. Majority of the teenagers were playing pranks, gaffing around with duet videos and sharing split screen with strangers. This could expose the vulnerable ones to sexual predators.

The court took cognisance of the fact that countries like Indonesia and Bangladesh had banned TikTok and the U.S. enacted the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act to safeguard children.


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