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SC disposes off petitions for regulating online content, schedules Centre’s petitions on IT Rules for later

Petitions before the Supreme Court seek transfer of cases on IT Rules and a stay on orders by various High Courts on the same amid concerns on free speech

The Supreme Court on July 20th disposed off 7 petitions asking for creation of mechanisms to regulate online and social media content. It also agreed to adjourn hearings in the matter of transfer petitions filed by the Central government on various petitions challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and the Cable TV (Amendment) Rules across various High Courts. The Centre has also filed several petitions for a stay on interim orders issued therein. During the hearing, Tushar Mehta Additional Solicitor General of India, attempted to persuade the court to pass a Stay order on the stay orders passed by the Bombay High Court on the IT Rules. Meanwhile, Adv. Abhishek Manu Singhvi attempted to get the Court to allow the respondents (those challenging the IT Rules) file a counter in the case. We have summarised their arguments below. The matter is now expected to be taken up on July 27th. Why it matters? The government of India had in July 2021 moved the Supreme Court asking for transfer of various petitions challenging the constitutionality of the IT Rules 2021 from High Courts across the country to the Supreme Court. This, the petition reportedly said, was because if individual pleas are decided on by various high courts, there is a likelihood of conflict between those decisions and that of the Supreme Court. The petition had then also proposed clubbing such challenges with existing petitions filed before the Supreme Court related to online content regulation-…

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I cover health technology for MediaNama but, really, love all things tech policy. Always willing to chat with a reader! Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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