wordpress blog stats
Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

CPI MP files statutory motion to strike down IT Rules in Rajya Sabha

The IT Rules apply to social media intermediaries, digital news publishers, and streaming services; its provisions are under litigation across several high courts in India. 

Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament from the Communist Party of India Binoy Viswam on Thursday filed a motion to annul the Information Technology (Intermediary Liability and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Desh Deepak Verma, the Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha, said in a Rajya Sabha bulletin that the motion had been admitted, which means it may come up for discussion. Viswam’s motion stated:

“This House resolves that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, issued under clause (z), (zg) of sub-section (2) of Section 87 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 published in the Gazette of India dated the 25th February, 2021 vide Notification No. G.S.R. 139(E) dated the 25th February 2021 and laid on the Table of the House on 25th March 2021, be annulled; and

This House recommends to Lok Sabha that Lok Sabha do concur in this Motion.” (links supplied)

Why it matters: As the IT Rules face legal challenges and pushback from news organisations and social media companies, scrutiny is building on how it has, under subordinate legislation powers, fundamentally altered the digital regulation landscape. This motion, along with court challenges, will test the robustness of internet rulemaking in India.

MediaNama has reached out to Viswam for comment. A publicly listed phone number for the MP was not reachable as of this report being published. Viswam is a former Minister For Forests and Housing in the Kerala government. An MP from the Rajya Sabha, P Rajeeve, had in 2012 filed a similar motion demanding that the preceding Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011, be annulled. Arun Jaitley, then the leader of the opposition in the upper house, that year commended Rajeeve for the motion, citing Parliament’s responsibility to oversee subordinate legislation. That motion, however, failed.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
  • Matter not in Friday business: The statutory motion, which Maadhyam, a Twitter handle that tracks parliamentary proceedings, said was rarely invoked, is not in the Revised List of Business for Friday, indicating it will not be taken up by the Parliament’s Upper House just yet. “Chances are high that it will remain buried in [the Business Advisory Committee], which will not prioritize it for allotment of time,” the handle speculated.

What the Rules require, and what the concerns are

Requirements: The IT Rules require streaming services and digital news publishers to hire grievance officers and submit to a three-tier complaint mechanism with the government at the top. Its provisions have been challenged by several news organisations and journalists, and the government has moved to transfer these cases from High Courts all around the country to the Supreme Court.

Social media companies, on the other hand, are required to appoint a grievance officer and respond within 36 hours to block content after receiving an order under Section 79 of the IT Act and requires significant social media intermediaries (with more than 5 million users) to also appoint a nodal officer to liaise with law enforcement and the government, and to take down content with impersonation or sexual content within 24 hours.

Concerns: News organisations have previously argued in these cases that the Rules are onerous, that they impinge on the freedom of expression, and are perhaps most importantly, an overreach of subordinate legislation; the Rules were notified without parliamentary approval, something that even the government’s own advisers had initially assessed was required, given the law’s far-reaching power and implications.

Separately, WhatsApp has challenged a “traceability” requirement in the Rules that they say would break the service’s end-to-end encryption. Through the traceability requirement, the government said it sought to trace the originator of harmful messages, like in the case of fake news. The Kerala High Court on July 9 granted the websites of TV broadcasters relief against any coercive action from the government.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Also read:

Written By

I cover the digital content ecosystem and telecom for MediaNama.

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

Views

News

When news that Walmart would soon accept cryptocurrency turned out to be fake, it also became a teachable moment.

News

The DSCI's guidelines are patient-centric and act as a data privacy roadmap for healthcare service providers.

News

In this excerpt from the book, the authors focus on personal data and autocracies. One in particular – Russia.  Autocracies always prioritize information control...

News

By Jai Vipra, Senior Resident Fellow at Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy The use of new technology, including facial recognition technology (FRT) by police...

News

By Stella Joseph, Prakhil Mishra, and Yash Desai The Government of India circulated proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 (“E-Commerce Rules”) which...

You May Also Like

News

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he...

News

By Aroon Deep and Aditya Chunduru You’re reading it here first: Twitter has complied with government requests to censor 52 tweets that mostly criticised...

Advert

135 job openings in over 60 companies are listed at our free Digital and Mobile Job Board: If you’re looking for a job, or...

News

Google has released a Google Travel Trends Report which states that branded budget hotel search queries grew 179% year over year (YOY) in India, in...

MediaNama is the premier source of information and analysis on Technology Policy in India. More about MediaNama, and contact information, here.

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ

Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Name:*
Your email address:*
*
Please enter all required fields Click to hide
Correct invalid entries Click to hide

© 2008-2021 Mixed Bag Media Pvt. Ltd. Developed By PixelVJ