Delhi HC Issues Notice to Centre Seeking Its Response on the Petition Challenging the New IT Rules

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The petition filed by an Advocate had stated that the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 were unconstitutional as they disregarded the fundamental rights of citizens.

Petition against the new IT Rules

On 15th July, 2021, a petition was filed by Advocate Udey Bedi challenging Rule 3 and 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Similar petitions were also filed before the Kerala High Court and the Court had passed orders protecting the petitioners from coercive actions.

Petitioner’s Contentions

According to the petitioner, Section 3 and 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 gave immense powers to Social Media Intermediaries to voluntarily remove access to information on the basis of complaints received from individuals. According to the petitioner, the Rules subjected the users of social media platforms to constant surveillance and that it violated the Right to Privacy which was recognized by the Supreme Court in the case of K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017). It was contended that the provisions of the said Rules were violative of Article 14 of the Constitution of India. It was also contended that the Rules granted powers to the Intermediaries to retain the data of users. According to the petitioner, the Rules disregarded the fundamental rights of citizens. Additionally, the petitioner had stated that the Rules are anti-ethical to the fundamental principles of democracy which is part of the basic structure of the Constitution.”

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The petitioner though the plea sought for an issuance of a writ striking down Section 3 and 4 of Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Observations of the Court

The Bench constituted by Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh considered the contentions of the petitioner and issued a notice to the Centre seeking its reply on the same.

Similarly, on 8th July, 2021, the Delhi High Court had issued a notice to Central Government seeking its reply on the petition that was filed by the Press Trust of India challenging the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

Court issues notice to Govt.

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The Court responses from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and gave time to the Centre to file its response. Accordingly, the matter was listed to be heard on 13th September 2021.

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