IT Rules #2Transfer of IT Rules Challenges
On July 27th, 2022, a Bench comprising Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, A.S. Oka and J.B. Pardiwala adjourned the case and listed it for hearing on August 17th, 2022. The SC will decide whether to transfer all the pending challenges against the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules) to the Supreme Court. Further, they will decide whether to allow the Interim Stay on the IT Rules, passed by various HCs, to continue.
The IT Rules contain guidelines for social media intermediaries (like Facebook and Twitter), digital media organisations and online streaming platforms. The Rules have been challenged across various High Courts for imposing vague and arbitrary restrictions on media organisation’s Freedom of Speech. Multiple High Courts including the Bombay, Madras and Kerala HC have passed Interim Orders staying the application of the IT Rules.
The Union government filed a transfer petition at the SC requesting the Court to decide the matter so that ‘divergent judicial views’ from multiple HCs can be avoided. Further, the Union filed a separate petition challenging the Interim Orders passed staying the IT Rules.