Madras HC sends notice to Centre on new IT rules
The association said in its plea that it was being pressured by the ministry of information and broadcasting to furnish information within 15 days under Rule 18 of the new Information Technology Rules 2021.
The Madras high court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Union government on a plea moved by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) and journalist Mukund Padmanabhan that challenges the constitutional validity of the new information technology rules and calls them a threat to the freedom of press and to free speech in India.
The association said in its plea that it was being pressured by the ministry of information and broadcasting to furnish information within 15 days under Rule 18 of the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 and has been served two reminders since May 26.
Posting the matter to three weeks later, a bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy allowed the association to approach the court for interim relief if any “coercive and arm-twisting” action is taken under rules 12, 14 and 16.
The petition termed Rule 16, which provides “emergency blocking powers” to secretary of the Union ministry of information and broadcasting to block any content without providing an opportunity for hearing as “wholly arbitrary”.
The government has maintained that the rules are intended to deter the misuse of digital media.