SC restrains HCs from proceeding with IT Rules, CTN Amendment Rules cases
The matters have been adjourned to May 19
The Supreme Court has restrained the high courts from proceeding with the petitions pertaining to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) and the Cable TV Networks (Amendment) Rules 2021.
A number of digital media publishers like Live Law, and The Leaflet apart from bodies like Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA), Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF), and News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) have challenged the IT Rules. The IBDF and NBDA have also challenged the Cable TV Amendment Rules 2021.
The matters have been adjourned to May 19.
The Madras, Kerala, and Bombay High Courts have restrained the Centre from taking any coercive action against the petitioners and their members for non-implementation of the said rules.
Subsequently, the Centre filed a transfer petition in the Supreme Court for transferring all the petitions related to the two rules to the apex court. On Monday, a Supreme Court bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar and Abhay S Oka passed the order while issuing notice in the transfer petitions filed by the Union government.
While issuing notices on the stay applications, the apex court said that it is not interfering with the interim orders passed by the HCs at this juncture. "We are not touching any interim orders today... we will see on May 19, 2022", Justice Khanwilkar told Advocate Vrinda Bhandari, who was representing LiveLaw Media.
"We direct stay of further proceedings pending before the high courts in the respective cases or to be filed hereafter until the next date of hearing involving a challenge to IT rules or cable TV amendment rules which are the subject matter of proceedings in this set of cases," the order stated.
The bench requested the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta to categorize the cases into three categories. These are 1) challenge to IT rules, 2) challenge to cable TV amendment rules, and 3) Article 32 petitions generally seeking directions for evolving mechanisms that would be touching upon the subject matter of IT rules.
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