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TikTok ban to stay, HC names counsel to evaluate its impact

EXPERT TAKE: Madras High Court appoints senior advocate Arvind Datar as the independent counsel.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Apr 17, 2019, 09.47 AM IST
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A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on Monday posted the matter for further hearing on April 22.
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Tuesday declined to lift its interim ban on Chinese social media application TikTok, and has posted the matter for further hearing on April 24.

It remained unclear as of press time whether the app would go off Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store following the high court order. On Monday, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had directed the tech giants to block downloads of the app.

Emails to Google and Apple on whether they would comply with the MeitY note remained unanswered.

TikTok, owned by Chinese internet firm Bytedance, said it was optimistic that its more than 120 million monthly users would continue to use the platform.

Also Read: Google is said to block TikTok in India, hurting Chinese startup

The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday also appointed senior advocate Arvind Datar as an independent counsel to assist it in assessing the impact of the popular social media platform.

“We welcome the decision of the Madras High Court to appoint Arvind Datar as Amicus Curiae (independent counsel) to the court,” TikTok said in an email.

The appointment would ensure that external intervention from third parties, either espousing internet freedom or those favouring the ban, would remain limited in the case, said cyber law experts.

Datar, a constitutional law expert, had earlier appeared on behalf of petitioners in a 2017 case determining the constitutionality of the Right to Privacy. He had argued that the right be elevated to that of a fundamental right.

ET had reported on Tuesday that the MeitY had asked Google and Apple to prohibit downloads of the app following the Supreme Court’s refusal on Monday to stay the original April 3 directive of the Madras HC.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for ByteDance, had argued for a stay against the ban, saying it was causing irreparable damage to the company.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on Monday posted the matter for further hearing on April 22.
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