TikTok ban: SC gives 2 days deadline to Madras HC

The Supreme Court has asked the Madras High Court to decide on its interim ban on Chinese-owned TikTok video app by Wednesday. The ban on the video app, which claims to have more than 54 million active users in India, will be lifted if the high court fails to give its decision on a plea filed by Chinese company Bytedance, which owns TikTok, the top court has said.

The order was passed by a bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna.

Bytedance, in a petition to the Supreme Court on April 15, told the top court that the interim order was passed without hearing their arguments. However, the Supreme Court declined to stay the Madras High Court order on April 16, and listed the matter for another hearing on April 22.

The special leave petition was filed by TikTok India through PLR Chambers & Co., praying for an interim relief, according to a report by legal news website LiveLaw. Among other things, the petition underscored that around 200 TikTok India employees are at risk of losing their jobs. In its plea, TikTok also contended that it is losing around ₹4.5 crore a day, and that profiles of around two million users are at stake.

The China-based company has released a statement as a response to this development. “At TikTok, we are committed to abiding by local laws and regulations. We fully comply with the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. We are currently awaiting the official order by the Honourable High Court of Madras and once received, we will review and take appropriate action regarding this matter.

Maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment at TikTok is our priority. We have robust measures to protect users against misuse, protect their privacy and digital wellbeing. This includes easy reporting mechanisms that enable users and law enforcement to report content that violates our terms of use and comprehensive Community Guidelines. In order to better coordinate with law enforcement agencies, we have appointed a Chief Nodal Officer based out of India.”