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After former attorney general refuses to represent TikTok in SC, Congress leader and former TikTok lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi also backs out

The Congress leaders decision came against the backdrop of former Attorney General of India and senior advocate, Mukul Rohatgi expressing unwillingness to be a lawyer for TikTok.

Senior advocate and Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said on Wednesday (July 1) said that he would not represent the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok in Supreme Court, as TikTok seems to be challenging the decision of govt of India to ban it in the country. The Congress leader said that though he had represented the Chinese app a year ago in Supreme Court and won on their behalf, he did not intend to appear for it now.

The Congress leader’s decision came after former Attorney General of India and senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi expressed unwillingness to be a lawyer for TikTok. Earlier in the day, Mukul Rohatgi had clarified that he doesn’t want to represent a Chinese company against the Government of India.

TikTok, owned by Chinese internet firm Bytedance, is challenging the decision of govt of India to ban it in the country, along with 58 other apps from China.

It is pertinent to note here, that in 2019, Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi had represented TikTok in the Madras High Court and had argued for a stay against the ban imposed on the app by the High Court, saying it was causing irreparable damage to the company.

In April last year, the Madras High Court had issued an interim order to TikTok, following which the govt of India had directed Google and Apple to remove the app from their app stores in India. The court had then observed that there was inappropriate content, including pornography, on the platform that was easily accessible to children. Following the High Court order, the company had approached the Supreme Court. The apex court had refused to stay the ban, but asked the High Court to take a decision on the interim ban by 24th April. The Court had said that if the Madras High Court does not make a decision, the ban will be lifted. After that on April 24, the Madra High Court had lifted the ban.

The Chinese video sharing app banned in India

The government of India has announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps that were listed on the Google Play Store and the Apple iOS App Store in India over concerns that these apps were engaging in activities that threatened national security, defence of India, sovereignty and integrity of India. The list includes the popular short video service TikTok, which considers India as its biggest market, UC News from Alibaba Group, CM Browser, file sharing service Shareit, shopping app Shein, popular mobile game Clash of Kings, and more. TikTok is the most popular app on the ban list, which is known for its user-generated lip-syncing, talent and comedy short videos. In recent times the app also faced controversy after a large number of videos were uploaded on TikTok by Muslims mocking and downplaying the Coronavirus pandemic.

TikTok India released statement, claims does not share data with Chinese govt

Following the ban, TikTok’s India office had released a statement, in which Nikhil Gandhi, head of TikTok in India claimed that TikTok continues to comply with data privacy and security requirements and has not shared information of users to any foreign government including the Chinese government. 

However, since the Government of India did not concede to TikTok’s request to restore its services in India, the Chinese app has now decided to take the Government of India to court.

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