Regulators

SC to hear Centre’s plea on new IT Rules on 16 July

Several media outlets have challenged the constitutional validity of the new rules

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stay the proceedings in connection with petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre's new IT rules before various high courts.

The Centre had approached the apex court on Tuesday seeking transfer of all pending pleas challenging its new IT rules to itself, and had also sought a stay on the proceedings in various courts. However, the bench said that it will not pass any order as of now, except tagging the transfer petition with the said special leave petition (SLPs).

The Court will now hear the Centre’s plea on 16 July along with a pending matter related to the regulation of over-the-top (OTT) platforms. 

Numerous petitions challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, are currently pending in various high courts across the country.

The new rules notified on 25 February, came into effect on 26 May recommend a three-tier mechanism for the regulation of all online media. According to the new IT Rules, social media and streaming companies will be required to take down contentious content quicker, appoint grievance redressal officers and assist in investigations. The rules also seek to regulate the functioning of online media portals and publishers, over-the-top (OTT) platforms and social media intermediaries.

Some of the pleas pending before the Delhi high court have sought striking down of specific part of the IT Rules on the ground that it allegedly violates Article 19(1)(a) and 19(1)(g) of the Constitution, Article 14 of the Constitution by creating an unreasonable classification and by setting up a parallel adjudicatory mechanism to be overseen by the officials of the executive and is ultra vires the IT Act.

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