GACs To Handle User Complaints Against Social Media Firms From March 1: IT Ministry


The GAC will be a virtual digital platform that will operate only online and digitally—wherein the entire process, from filing of appeal to the decision thereof, will be conducted digitally.

“Users will have the option to appeal against the decision of the grievance officer of the social media intermediaries and other online intermediaries before this new appellate body. The committee will endeavour to address the user’s appeal within a period of 30 days,” the statement added.

The first panel will be chaired by the chief executive officer of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Retired Indian Police Service officer Ashutosh Shukla and Punjab National Bank’s former chief general manager and chief information officer Sunil Soni have been appointed as the whole-time members of the panel.

The second panel will be chaired by the joint secretary in charge of the Policy and Administration Division in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The third panel will be chaired by Kavita Bhatia, a senior scientist at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Sanjay Goel, former traffic service officer of the Indian Railways, and Krishnagiri Ragothamarao, former managing director and chief executive officer of IDBI Intech Ltd., have been appointed as the whole-time members of the third panel.

The notification is part of the tighter IT rules, notified in October 2022 for setting up government-appointed GACs.

After the notification of the IT rules for social media, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar had said the compliance of rules and laws was not a ‘pick-and-choose’ or ‘cherry-picking’ option for the platforms.

He had cautioned that if and when rules are not followed, the ‘safe harbour protection’ that these platforms enjoy falls away.

The provision of safe harbour under IT laws gives internet platforms—social media, e-commerce and others—protection from the content posted by users.

“The government looks at the internet through the prism of keeping it safe and accountable for 120 crore digital nagriks (digital citizens). Safe and trusted internet is an integral part of the trillion dollar digital economy goal,” the minister had said.


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