Centre asks SC to transfer pleas against new IT rules to itself

New Indian IT Rules
New Indian IT Rules

New Delhi, July 6 : The Centre Government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court, seeking it transfer to itself, all petitions pending in various high courts across the country challenging the validity of new IT Rules.

The Centre has emphasised the petitions challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, should be transferred to the apex court for an authoritative pronouncement on the issue, said a source.

The petitions have challenged the new IT Rules intended to regulate social media firms like Facebook, Twitter as well as OTT players.

The Centre moved the transfer plea against the backdrop of several high courts including Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Kerala High Courts being seized of petitions challenging the new IT Rules.

Meanwhile, in a major setback for Twitter in India, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the micro-blogging site for failing to appoint resident grievance officer (RGO), saying: “How long will your process take place? This cannot be allowed”, even as it gave a free pass to the Central government to act against the social media firm.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on July 8, and asked Twitter to inform by when it will appoint an RGO and other officials.

On May 31, the High Court had issued a notice to the micro-blogging platform on a plea by advocate Amit Acharya, urging the court to issue directions to the Centre to pass necessary instructions to Twitter India and Twitter Inc to appoint a resident grievance officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 without any delay.

The plea had contended that in a nutshell, every significant social media intermediary has the responsibility of appointing not only a resident grievance officer who will act as a single-point authority for receiving and disposing of complaints within a fixed time, but someone should also receive and acknowledge any order, notice and direction issued by the competent authorities.

According to the new rules, the social media firms will have to put in place the complaint redressal mechanism with an officer being based in the country to deal with online contents, which have been flagged by authorities concerned and courts.

The Quint and The Wire had also moved the Delhi High Court, challenging the regulation of digital news portals under the IT Rules 2021.

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