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Supreme Court asks Madras HC to decide plea on TikTok

Chinese company ByteDance, which owns the mobile app, approached the top court against the high court order. It told the top court that there were over billion downloads of the app and that the HC issued the order ex-parte, without hearing the company.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2019 23:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
Supreme Court,Madras high court,TikTok
The top court had earlier refused to intervene with the Madras HC order that directed the Centre to ban the TikTok app over concerns about access to pornographic content through it. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT FILE PHOTO)

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Madras high court to decide on April 24 a plea of “TikTok” mobile application seeking to vacate its ban order.

A bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said if the high court fails to decide the plea, then its ban order will stand vacated. The top court had earlier refused to intervene with the Madras HC order that directed the Centre to ban the TikTok app, which allows the users to create short videos and then share them, over concerns about access to pornographic content through it.

Chinese company ByteDance, which owns the mobile app, approached the top court against the high court order. It told the top court that there were over billion downloads of the app and that the HC issued the order ex-parte, without hearing the company. “No notice was issued to us. We are incurring a daily loss and it’s not justified,” senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for the company, told the bench.

The Madras high court had on April 3 directed the Centre to ban TikTok after a public interest litigation (PIL) alleged that the app “degraded culture and encouraged pornography”. The HC had asked the Centre if it would enact a statute on the line of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act in the US. Even after the havoc caused by Blue whale online game, which reportedly led to suicides by several people, officials have not learnt that they should be alert to these types of problems, the high court said.

The hearing was postponed for April 16.

Singhvi said on the last hearing that the HC simply asked the opposite side to file its affidavit in response to the company’s plea to vacate the stay. He said the court had fixed April 24 to hear the matter again. However, Singhvi submitted, the HC shuts down for vacation on April 30.

First Published: Apr 22, 2019 23:37 IST