Credits: Wikimedia Commons

A parliamentary panel headed by Bhartiya Janata Party MP from Delhi, Meenakshi Lekhi, has questioned Twitter over its failure to take down tweets by comedian Kunal Kamra criticizing the Supreme Court of India.

Comedian Kunal Kamra’s tweets referred to the bail provided by the Supreme Court to Republic Network’s chief, Arnab Goswami. The popular journalist was accused and arrested for abetment in a suicide case. The case was further taken to the Supreme Court, where the judge ordered bail for Arnab Goswami on the grounds of personal liberty.

Kunal Kamra, known for his rivalry with the top journalist, took to Twitter to take a dig at the Supreme Court. In one of his tweets, Kamra added a pun to the word “Supreme” to criticize India’s top court for its decision.

In another tweet that followed, he uploaded a picture of the Supreme Court colored in Saffron (resounding with BJP’s colors) and a BJP flap atop it. For these controversial tweets, Kunal Kamra drew huge criticism from users, as well as leaders from the ruling party.

Meenakshi Lekhi told Reuters, “Kamra is playing with Indian institutions … degrading our institutions is not acceptable”. The parliamentary panel called the tweets ‘obscene’ and has ordered Twitter to give an explanation on why it has not taken these tweets from Kunal Kamra down. The social media platform has been given seven days by the parliamentary panel to respond to the matter

Twitter had explained that it does not moderate content unless it violates the platform’s policy. Meenakshi Lekhi added that this explanation from Twitter is inadequate.

The platform has been very proactive when it comes to content moderation in the past few days. In fact, President Donald Trump saw his Twitter feed filled with warning labels after Joe Biden was announced the projected winner of the 2020 presidential elections.

This is not the first time Twitter has received severe flak from the Indian government in the past few weeks. Recently, Twitter failed to correct a geographical error on the platform that showed Ladakh as part of China. The very same parliamentary panel had asked Twitter to submit an apology regarding this issue, which the social media platform did. Furthermore, the company also assured that the error will be corrected by the end of this month.

This heavy surveillance on social media platforms by the Indian government is on the run-up to the establishment of a new set of rules that will be aimed to tackle “fake news” and “disinformation. These rules would enforce the deployment of dedicated officers at social media companies, who will be coordinating with law enforcement 24/7 to check for unlawful content on respective platforms.