Bombay High Court takes new action: Bombay High Court suspends enforcement of part of code of conduct for digital publishers
The Mumbai High Court on Saturday granted interim stay on the implementation of Sections 9 (1) and 9 (3) of the new IT Rules, 2021 relating to compliance with the Code of Conduct for Digital Media. A bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice GS Kulkarni observed that such mandatory observance of the Code of Conduct violates the right of freedom of expression petitioners guaranteed under Section 1 of the Constitution.
The bench also held that Section 9 itself goes beyond the purview of the Information Technology Act. The High Court also rejected the Centre’s request to stay the order. In fact, the Center had sought stay of the order to file an appeal. However, the court refused to grant a stay on sections 14 and 16 of the IT Rules, which prohibit the establishment of an inter-ministerial committee and the content in such cases.
The news portal had challenged
Legal issues ‘The Leaflet’ news portal and journalist Nikhil Wagle had filed a petition challenging the new rules. He said the incident was likely to have a serious impact on the right to freedom of expression given to citizens.
Centre’s argument – new rules to curb fake news
In particular, the bench on Friday asked the central government what was the need to bring in the recently notified Information Technology Rules, 2021, without repealing the existing IT rules that came into force in 2009. Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh told the Center that new rules were needed to curb the spread of fake news.
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