In response to a lawyer’s petition contesting the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the Delhi High Court today requested the Central government’s answer (IT Rules, 2021). Uday Bedi, a practising lawyer, filed a petition alleging that the new IT Rules violate basic rights to free expression and privacy. The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been served with a notice by the Court (MEITY). The case is set to be heard on September 13th.
Bedi claims that the new IT Rules violate his basic rights as a user of social media intermediaries (SMIs) including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter. The challenged Rules are said to violate the Indian Constitution’s Articles 14 (right to equality, including the right against arbitrariness), 19 (freedom of speech and expression), and 21 (right to life and personal liberty, which is understood to include the right to privacy). News portals The Wire, The Quint, and AltNews, as well as the Press Trust of India, have challenged the IT Rules, 2021 in the Delhi High Court. The High Court earlier this month denied interim relief in cases brought by The Wire, The Quint, and AltNews while giving the Central government and other respondents time to respond to the claims.
Other challenges challenging the IT Rules have been filed in the Madras, Kerala, and Bombay High Courts. Because there are several petitions on the subject. The Centre has also filed a transfer petition with the Supreme Court, requesting that all matters be considered there. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, has yet to order a stay on any of the High Court actions.
-Report by ESHAN SHARMA