‘TikTok PIL: SC right in saying that the case is within the purview of Madras HC’

TikTok owner Bytedance Technology had filed a plea to transfer the case pending against it in the Madras High Court to Supreme Court. The apex court rejected the plea

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Jul 16, 2019 6:03 PM Updated: Jul 16, 2019 6:03 PM

In a span of less than three weeks, the Madras High Court has imposed and lifted a ban on TikTok mobile application. The Madras High Court passed an interim order on April 3, 2019 to prohibit downloads of the app, acting on a PIL filed by an advocate. The PIL alleged that the platform was overridden by content likely to harm children, and also that minors are being exposed to strangers on the platform.

The April 3 order came as a shock to everyone as TikTok has more than a million users in India. TikTok users in India have gained popularity overnight by using this app.

Later a Supreme Court ruling in favour of TikTok directed that the ban shall automatically stand lifted if Madras High Court failed to decide on the interim order by April 24, 2019. The Madras High Court, in an order on April 24, 2019, lifted the ban imposed on TikTok, bringing a relief to the users and leaving them overjoyed.

The Supreme Court on July 4, 2019, refused to allow a plea filed by Bytedance Technology (TikTok owner) to transfer the case pending against it in the Madras High Court to Supreme Court. The Supreme Court was of the view that all questions pertaining to the freedom of speech and expression can be answered by the high court. The Supreme Court order has left the fate of TikTok with the Madras High Court for now. The apex court has made it clear that TikTok matter will be handled by the Madras High Court only.

Reflecting on the ruling by the Supreme Court, Petal Chandhok, Partner, Trust Legal, who appears in a lot of media entertainment matters, said, “The transfer petition was sought for final and expeditious disposal of the matter by TikTok. The Supreme Court is correct in its decision by saying that the case is within the purview of the Madras High Court and it can very well address the matter.”

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