Delhi HC demands the center’s stance to new IT regulations

The Delhi High Court requested a reply from the Center in response to its appeal challenging the new IT rules because the users of social media brokers such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter are allegedly disregarding fundamental freedom of speech and privacy.

The Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued an announcement to the Center to defend the plea of Uday Bedi, arguing that the new IT norms are contradictory and hostile to democratic core principles.

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has been served with a notice from the court. The case is set to be heard on September 13th.

Bedi claims that the new IT rules are in violation of his fundamental rights as a user of social media intermediaries (SMIs), including WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter. The challenged rules are said to be in violation of Articles 14 (right to equality, including the right against arbitrariness), 19 (freedom of speech and expression), and 21 (right to life and personal liberty, which is construed to include the right to privacy).

The petition claims that the new Information Technology Rules do not specify how social media intermediaries would voluntarily respond to a complaint without listening in on all conversations on the SMI platform and that tracing the first originator of a message is impossible without decrypting all private information stored, published, hosted, or transmitted.

The High Court earlier this month denied interim relief in cases brought by The Wire, The Quint, and AltNews, while giving the Central government and other respondents time to respond to the applications.

Other petitions challenging the IT Rules have been filed in the Madras, Kerala, and Bombay High Courts. Because there are many petitions on the subject, the Centre has also filed a transfer petition with the Supreme Court, requesting that all matters be considered there. The Supreme Court, on the other hand, has yet to put a stay on any of the High Court actions.

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