In a hearing before the Delhi High Court challenging the Information Technology (Guidelines For Intermediaries And Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) digital media houses The Quint and The Wire today told the court that submitting information as required by the Central government in compliance with the rules, “is not a matter of voice vote.”
Sr. Adv. Nitya Ramakrishnan for the media houses argued with this against Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma’s submission that nearly 1200 digital media houses including independent publishers had already complied with the Rules and submitted details as required.
Ramakrishnan said, “We have challenged the Rules, they haven’t. What they’re trying to do is in the face of a Supreme Court order which says government control of the media is unacceptable.”
She however, added, that whatever details or information was being sought under the Rules was already in the public domain.
A division bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was also hearing the media houses on their application for interim protection for non-compliance with the Rules.
The vacation division bench of Justices C Hari Shankar and Subramonium Prasad had said it was prima facie not inclined to grant any interim relief on applications by The Quint and The Wire for action against them for non-compliance with the (IT Rules, 2021).
The court had said that as the matter was pending before the regular division bench and no stay was granted there, it would renotify their application for interim relief for hearing by the roster bench.
The court had also issued notice on digital fact-checking platform AltNews’ challenge to the IT Rules, 2021, accepting their counsel, Sr. Adv. Nitya Ramakrishnan’s submission that the plea was on parity with The Quint and The Wire’s challenges on which the division roster bench had issued notice already.