Subordinate legislation: Power invoked by govt to ratify rules

Published on Feb 28, 2021 04:07 AM IST

These rules do not necessarily have to be debated by Parliament; they only have to be placed at floor of the house. The central government has invoked section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, to issue the new guidelines

FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with the Netflix logo lies in front of displayed "Streaming service" words in this illustration taken March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with the Netflix logo lies in front of displayed "Streaming service" words in this illustration taken March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo(REUTERS)

The new rules for social media intermediaries, over the top platforms (such as Netflix and Hotstar) and digital news media publishers have been cleared as a “subordinate legislation”. A subordinate legislation is a power invoked by the government to ratify new rules.

“Subordinate legislation is the legislation made by an authority subordinate to the legislature… Most of the enactments provide for the powers for making rules, regulations, bye-laws or other statutory instruments which are exercised by the specified subordinate authorities. Such legislation is to be made within the framework of the powers so delegated by the legislature and is, therefore, known as delegated or subordinate legislation,” the Rajya Sabha Website sates.

These rules do not necessarily have to be debated by Parliament; they only have to be placed at floor of the house. The central government has invoked section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, to issue the new guidelines. The sweeping changes will impact all sectors and while increasing accountability of the platforms, they also give the ministry of information and broadcasting take down powers, which until now has only rested with the ministry of electronics and information technology.

Experts say that the move is an executive overreach and the take down powers for websites have no legislative basis. According to them, the ambit of section 69(A) only extends to government agencies and intermediaries. ht

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