Delhi High Court Judge, Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani, on Monday recused himself from hearing petitions filed by various digital media houses challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (“IT Rules, 2021”).
A vacation bench of Justices Bhambhani and Jasmeet Singh asked the matter to be listed before another bench, of which Justice Bhambhani is not a party, next Monday.
The instant petitions have been filed by the Foundation for Independent Journalism which is the publisher of ‘The Wire’, Quint Digital Media Limited which is the publisher of ‘The Quint’, and other media houses.
The petitions allege the impugned rules to be a ruse for the State to enter and directly control the content of digital news portals. In light of the above, the pleas seek a declaration of the IT Rules, 2021, as void and inoperative for being violative of Articles 14, 19(1)(a), 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution, as also the Information Technology Act, 2000, in as much as the impugned rules apply to ‘publishers of news and current affairs content’.
The matter will now be taken up on June 26.