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Brief: Arguments made by LiveLaw in plea challenging Information Technology Rules 2021

The Intermediaries Rules 2021 have not been issued following due process under the Information Technology Act 2000, claimed legal reporting portal LiveLaw, in its petition against the new Rules. They are "vague" and "suffer from excessive delegation of powers", which will lead to the exercise of judicial functions by non-judicial authorities, the legal news platform said in its petition. Earlier this week, LiveLaw filed a petition in the Kerala High Court, challenging the validity of the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. After hearing the petition, the court granted a stay against any coercive action by the government against LiveLaw by virtue of it being declared a "publisher" under the new Rules. LiveLaw's petition is the second legal challenge against the Rules, which were notified earlier this month. A few days ago, the Foundation for Independent Journalism (a trust which owns The Wire), The Wire's founding editor MK Venu and TheNewsMinute's editor-in-chief Dhanya Rajendran filed a plea in the Delhi High Court; the court is yet to begin hearings, but has issued notice to the central government, which is a respondent in the case. Both the FIJ's and LiveLaw's petitions make similar arguments: they say that the Rules extend the scope of the parent act, the IT Act, 2000. They claim that the Rules define and regulate matters such as digital media, which was never a part of the parent act's purpose or remit. Additionally, they argue that the prescribed three-tiered regulatory structure for…

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