Delhi High Court Refuses to Stay New IT Rules Regulating Digital News Media


The court listed the applications for stay before the roster bench for July 7.

NEW DELHI — The Delhi High Court on Monday declined to stay the new Information Technology rules which seek to regulate digital news media, saying it was prima facie not inclined to grant any interim relief to the petitioners.

The Foundation for Independent Journalism, The Wire, Quint Digital Media Ltd and Pravda Media Foundation, parent company of Alt News, had moved the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The petitioners contended that a fresh notice had been issued to them to comply with the rules or else coercive action would be taken.

A vacation bench of Justices C Hari Shankar and Subramonium Prasad said the matter is pending before a regular division bench and added that notice was issued to them only for implementation of notification on which there was no stay.

Justice Shankar added, “All they are doing is implementing the notification. You have only made out the case that they should not have taken coercive action. It is not your case that the implementation is against the Rules.”

The bench told the petitioners’ counsel, “We are not in agreement with you. If you want, we will pass a reasoned detailed order or if you want, we can re-notify it before the roster bench”. The bench asked the counsel to take instructions in the matter and inform it.

Senior advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan, appearing for the news portals, after taking instructions urged the court to list the matter on reopening of courts after vacations. According to the amended IT rules, streaming companies and social media are mandated to pull down contentious content, appoint grievance redressal officers and assist in investigations. The High Court has listed the applications before the roster bench on July 7.

What are the new IT rules?

  • According to the new guidelines issued by the Government of India on 21 February 2021 for social media companies, it is necessary to track the original source of messages sent and shared through social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook.
  • If a false or fake post is going viral, then the government can ask the company about its originator and social media companies will have to tell who shared that post first.
  • According to the new IT rule, social media companies will have to take action against any post they receive a complaint against. For this, companies will have to appoint three officers (Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person and Resident Gravity Officer).
  • In the new IT rules, a time limit of 15 days has also been fixed for updating the complaint. Along with this, companies have been asked to keep staff to monitor the entire system.
(IANS, inputs added)


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