The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to provide temporary protection to digital news platforms that challenge the Information Technology (Ethical Code of Intermediaries and Digital Media) Rules 2021.
Judges DN Patel and Jyoti Singh heard a number of petitions, including petitions submitted by digital news portals such as The Quint and The Wire.
Nitya Ramakrishnan, a senior defense lawyer representing the digital news portal, sought instructions from the court, asking the defendant not to take any enforcement actions against the petitioners and grant them temporary protection.
In response to the prayer, Judge DN Patel refused to provide any temporary protection to the digital news portal, as the lawyer representing them prayed.
The defendant’s central government notified the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that it had filed a petition with the Supreme Court of India, requesting that all petitions challenging the 2021 IT rules be transferred to the country’s high courts.
The Delhi High Court also instructed the defendant’s central government to submit a response in this petition which is being heard by the Delhi High Court.
According to the petition submitted by The Quint, the petition challenged the new rule set on the grounds that a special classification was created in the rules, which placed an additional burden on the digital news media and current affairs.
Quint pointed out in the petition that by classifying digital news and current events as separate entities and identifying them as distinct from print news, the center has made arbitrary and discriminatory classifications, which violates Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.
Recently, the leave seat of the Delhi High Court issued a notice to the center concerning a new application from Pravda Media Foundation, the parent company of ALT News, to challenge IT rules 2021.
The Independent News Foundation made another request in March when the foundation released The Wire, a digital news website that opposed the 2021 IT rules.
Practicing lawyer Sanjay Singh (Sanjay Singh) made another request to challenge IT Rules 2021. According to him, the intermediary is under tremendous pressure to delete content that is said to not comply with the rules and immediately block access to users on its own.
Otherwise, when it receives instructions on any information from a government agency or competent court, the information is considered illegal, and the intermediary must delete such content or block access within 36 (thirty-six) hours, or face penalties Seven years in prison, he added.
According to the new IT rules, social media and streaming companies will be required to delete controversial content more quickly, appoint an ombudsman and assist in investigations.
The central government notified the IT regulations on March 25, 2021. The new notification rules will regulate the operation of online media portals and publishers, OTT platforms and social media intermediaries.