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Central Government moves Supreme Court for transfer of all cases challenging IT Rules 2021 from all High Courts to Supreme Court

The Centre submitted that the Government of India notified the IT Rules, 2021 on 25.02.2021. On 26.02.2021 the threshold limit of the number of registered users for an intermediary to qualify as an SSMI was notified.

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The Central Government has moved the Supreme Court for transfer of all cases challenging IT Rules 2021, from all High Courts to Supreme Court. The petition filed by Centre has been tentatively listed for a hearing on July 9. 

The transfer petition has been filed by the Centre in the wake of pending matters before various High Courts across the Country challenging its new IT Rules. 

In one of the petitions listed before the Delhi High Court by one Amit Acharya who has sought action against Twitter for not complying with the New IT Rules the Delhi HC has expressed its displeasure and asked Twitter to comply and appoint a Grievance Officer by July 8, i.e. next hearing of the matter. 

In the particular matter, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has filed its reply alleging that Twitter has not complied with the Centre’s IT Rules.

The Centre submitted that the Government of India notified the IT Rules, 2021 on 25.02.2021. On 26.02.2021 the threshold limit of the number of registered users for an intermediary to qualify as an SSMI was notified. That a sufficient period of three months from this date, i.e. from 26.02.2021 was granted to all SSMIs to comply with the additional due diligence set out under Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021. Thus, from 26.05.2021 onwards, all SSMIs are mandatorily required to comply with the obligations set out in Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021.

Another matter which are pending before the Delhi High Court; 

The Foundation for Independent Journalism, The Wire, Quint Digital Media Ltd and Pravda Media Foundation, parent company of Alt News, had filed a petition before the Delhi High Court challenging the new IT Rules. The Delhi High Court had issued notice to the Centre. While hearing the matter on June 28, the petitioner had sought a stay on the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, on the grounds that a fresh notice had been issued to them to comply with the rules or else coercive action would be taken. But the High Court had refused to stay the rules and list the matter before the Roster bench for hearing in July 7, 2021. 

Also Read: Supreme Court directs Maharashtra Government to end practice of shifting mentally ill to beggar homes

Matters pending before the Madras High Court; 

Recently on June 23, the Madras High Court had issued notice on a plea filed by by the Digital News Publishers Association challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. But the Court had refused to stay the operation of rules and granted liberty for the association to approach the court if any coercive and arm-twisting action is taken under the rules, particularly under provisions 12, 14 & 16 of the rules. Carnatic musician and columnist T.M. Krishna had also moved the Madras High Court against the IT Rules.

Similar petitions have also been filed before the Bombay High Court and Kerala High Court.

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