Kerala High Court issues notice to central government over the ‘chilling effects’ of India’s new IT Rules for digital news

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Kerala High Court issues notice to central government over the ‘chilling effects’ of India’s new IT Rules for digital news
Kerala High CourtBCCL
  • The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to the central government over the validity of its new IT Rules for digital news publications.
  • The single bench of Justice PV Asha also provided the petitioner, an online publication called LiveLaw, with interim protection.
  • The plea filed by LiveLaw argues that the new IT Rules are unconstitutional and have a ‘chilling effect’ on the entire digital new media industry.
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The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to the central government questioning the validity of its new IT rules for digital news organisations. The plea was filed by LiveLaw, which claims that the new guidelines cause a ‘chilling effect’ on the entire digital news media industry.

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Indian government assumes the right to block digital news content along with a new set of regulations

The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to the central government over the validity of its new IT Rules for digital news publications.

Justice PV Asha also provided interim protection to LiveLaw, restricting the central government from taking any action against the publication under Part II of the new rules until the case comes to a close.

“Respondents shall not take any coercive action against petitioners with reference to provision contained in Part 3 of the IT Rules,” said the interim order passed by Justice Asha of the Kerala High Court.
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India’s new IT rules are in violation of the constitution
According to LiveLaw’s petition, the Information Technology (Guidelines of Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 are in violation of Articles 13, 14, 19(1), 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

ArticleDescription
Article 13Fundamental rights are considered to be on the level of God thus no one cannot amend them.
Article 14The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
Article 19(1)All citizens shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression
Article 19(1)(g)Allows citizens “to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.”
Article 21No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to a procedure established by law.

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Advocate Santhosh Mathew, representing LiveLaw, argued that the regulatory mechanism in the new rules are “invasive, disproportionate and arbitrary.” He emphasised that “reasonable restrictions” on the fundamental rights offered under Article 19 can only be imposed through a law enacted by the legislature.

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OPINION: Regulating digital news is important but freedom of press is precious

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The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to the central government over the validity of its new IT Rules for digital news publications.

And, for a publication like LiveLaw who reports on court judgements — where not everyone may agree with the verdict — it could be an expensive endeavour. Mathew emphasized the urgency of the matter stating that the laws have already come in play starting February 25, which means if any person files a complaint against LiveLaw, the publication is obligated to reply within a span of 24 hours.

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Indian government assumes the right to block digital news content along with a new set of regulations

Indian government assumes the right to block digital news content along with a new set of regulations

The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to the central government over the validity of its new IT Rules for digital news publications.
OPINION: Regulating digital news is important but freedom of press is precious

OPINION: Regulating digital news is important but freedom of press is precious

The Kerala High Court has issued a notice to the central government over the validity of its new IT Rules for digital news publications.