The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has told the Delhi High Court that action taken by social media platforms against accounts should be proportionate to the offending content and taking down the account itself should be only the last resort [Wokeflix through Megha Chaubey v. Union of India and Ors]. .In an affidavit filed before the High Court, the MEITY said that social media platforms should respect fundamental rights of citizens and should not resort to an outright ban of an account only if some portion of the content is unlawful."If only some portion or few contents are unlawful then the platform may take proportionate action of removing such alleged information alone and not completely suspend the user account ... the platform may give prior notice to the user and seek removal of specific information or content that violates the platform policies of the IT Rules, 2021," the affidavit said.Only when most of the posts and content are unlawful, should social media companies take down the account, it was added."Liberty and freedom of any individual cannot be waylaid or jettisoned in the slip stream of social and technological advancement," the affidavit emphasised.The affidavit was filed in response to a plea by political satire handle, Wokeflix challenging the decision of social media platforms Twitter and Meta (parent company of Instagram) to disable/suspend its accounts.Justice V Kameswar Rao had, on March 8, issued notice to Twitter, Meta and Central government on Wokeflix's petition. .Besides plea by Wokeflix, the High Court is also seized of around half a dozen case related to such ban on accounts by social media companies. The matter has been listed next for April 13 for final disposal, after being heard on Wednesday by Justice Yashwant Varma.Wokeflix had moved the High Court after its Twitter and Instragram accounts had been suspended. The latter was restored a few days later..The affidavit by the Central government said that social media companies are duty-bound to protect fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.The allegation of Wokeflix not being given a chance to present its stand before being suspended is contrary to the tenets for the Constitution, it was stated.The nature of the unlawful post and its gravity would play a role in determining whether prior notice is required before suspension, the government said.Unless the content falls under exceptional ones as defined in the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 (IT Rules 2021), prior notice is required to be given and the aggrieved user can challenge the same under Rule 7 of the IT Rules, the affidavit further said.Thus, a social media platform should give prior notice to the user to take down the offending content and only in cases where majority of the content/ tweet/ posts by an account are unlawful, the platform can resort to the extreme step of taking down the user's account itself.If any authority including a social media company is allowed to go unchecked under the legal framework to act on its own whims, it defeats natural and inalienable rights, the government underscored."Social media intermediaries must be held accountable for subjugating and supplanting fundamental rights like the freedom of speech and expression, otherwise the same would have dire consequences for any democratic nation," the affidavit added.