A video creator and sharing app called TikTok has been making rounds on social media in recent times. It was available for all to download on Google Play Store and carved up a significant presence in the market. The Madhurai bench of the Madras High Court banned the app and following this, Google removed it from its Play Store.
ByeteDance, the parent company of TikTok had approached the Supreme of India to put a stay on the ban, but the apex court refused to intervene in the Madras bench judgment. It further delayed the hearing to 22nd April 2019. Apple followed suit too and removed TikTok from its App Store.
Senior Advocate Arvind P Datar acted as amicus curiae to the Madhurai bench, who was appointed in this capacity on 16th April. The court said that Datar would assist the court in its decision and it would be heard on 24th April. The original ban order was issued on 3rd April.
A group of citizens filed a petition to ban TikTok on the grounds that the social network platform was ‘degrading culture and encouraging pornography besides containing explicit disturbing content and causing social stigma and medical health issues between teens.’ The petition further mentioned about how TikTok even pushed kids to suicide.
The 3rd April interim ban order was passed by Justice N Kirubakaran and SS Sundar of the Madhurai bench based on this petition citing inappropriate content like pornography and accessibility to children as the primary reasons.
The judgement also included directions for the government to prohibit downloading of the app and also prohibit media from telecasting videos made using TikTok. The court also asked the government about the possibility of enacting a statute like United States’ Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This act prevents children from becoming victims of cyber abuse.
ByteDance also put forth its opinion on the ban to the apex court. It asked the ban to be set aside and argued that the ex-parte order is arbitrary and illegal and if the ban isn’t removed, it would cause irreversible damage to the company. Though the app has been removed from the respective app stores, existing users can still use it.
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