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Madras High court issues notice to Central government on a petition by digital media houses

- June 23, 2021

Chennai, June 23(BPNS)

Madras High court issued notice to the Government of India over a petition filed by Digital News Publishers Association comprising of thirteen media outlets. The petition was challenging the constitutional validity of the new Information Technology rules 2021.

The first bench of the Madras High Court comprising of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy admitted the plea and tagged along with another plea by noted Carnatic musician, T.M.Krishna on similar lines.

The court also granted interim relief for the association to approach the court if any coercive or arm twisting action is taken under the rules, particularly under provisions 12,14 and 16 of the rules.

Senior Advocate PS Raman appearing for the petitioner contended that two provisions of the rules were creating major problems for the digital news platforms. He said that in particular Rule 16 is an omnibus provision that gives power to the secretary of the Union ministry of Information and Broadcasting to block public access to any digital information.

Advocate Raman citing Rule 16 wanted the court to pass an interim order restraining the  Information and broadcasting ministry from taking any action under the rules pending disposal of the plea.

The bench however, refused to grant any interim order staying the operation of the rule as no adverse action has been initiated against the petitioner as of now.

The court also said that if any such adverse action is initiated against the petitioner, they will be at the liberty to apply for interim relief in these proceedings. The court adjourned the hearing by three weeks.