The Supreme Court on April 8 refused urgent listing of a plea challenging the recent Madras High Court order directing the Centre to ban the TikTok app over concerns about access to pornographic content through it.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna said the plea will come up for hearing in due course of time. Senior advocate AM Singhvi, appearing for Chinese company ByteDance, said that there are over billion download of the app and the Madurai bench of Madras High Court has passed an ex-parte order. “No urgent listing. The matter will come up in due course of time,” the bench said.
The Madurai bench of Madras High Court on April 3, had directed the Centre to ban mobile application TikTok as it voiced concern over the “pornographic and inappropriate contents” being made available through such apps. It directed the media not to telecast video clips made with TikTok. The app allows users to create short videos and then share them. It had asked the government if it would enact a statute on the line of the Childrens Online Privacy Protection Act in the US and posted the matter for further hearing on April 16.
The high court had passed the interim order Wednesday on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition which sought to ban Tik Tok app on ground that it allegedly contained contents that “degraded culture and encouraged pornography”. Even after the havoc caused by Blue whale online game, which reportedly led to suicides by several people, officials had not learnt that they should be alert to these types of problems, the high court had said.
Only when the officials and policy makers were able to act on the problems of society, decision could be taken to prevent these kind of apps, it had said.
Voicing concern, the court has said that it was evident from media reports that pornography and inappropriate content were made available through such mobile applications.
The court order has come on a PIL which alleged that the TikTok app from Chinese company ByteDance encouraged paedophiles and the contents were very disturbing.
The plea said that the app had over 100 million users all over the world and scores of youngsters in India were also using it.
Stating that Indonesia and Bangladesh have already banned the app, the PIL said children who used the mobile application were vulnerable and may get exposed to sexual predators. The petitioner also sought an act like the Children Online Privacy Protection Act in force in the US to prevent youngsters from becoming victims of cyber crime.