During the hearing of the Carnatic vocalist and social commentator TM Krishna’s writ petition challenging the “constitutional validity” of the IT Rules 2021 at the Madras High Court on Wednesday, the Union of India submitted that it has filed a petition to transfer all the cases challenging the same to the Supreme Court, Live Law reported.
Observing that the proceedings at the Madras High Court have not been ordered to be stopped, the court said it will go ahead with the matter and the Supreme Court will have the benefit of the opinion of the High Court.
The court has also asked the Union to file a counter affidavit within a fortnight and scheduled the matter to appear after three weeks.
Ever since the introduction of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 in February to regulate content in OTT platforms, social media intermediaries and digital news media, several cases have been filed across the country challenging it.
Following the release of the draft, writ petitions were filed by the Foundation for Independent Journalism, publisher of The Wire, at the Delhi High Court and by the legal news portal Live Law at the Kerala High Court to strike down the new rules.
The Kerala High Court had passed an interim order restraining the government from taking any coercive action against Live Law for non-compliance with provisions under Part III of the new IT Rules 2021.
The new IT Rules 2021 came into effect on May 26.
On June 10, Krishna argued that the rules were “violative” of fundamental rights of freedom of expression and privacy. He said that the rules restricted his rights as a user of social media and an online content creator. Further, he said that the rules were hampering his rights as an “artist and cultural commentator.”
Other petitioners who were granted the liberty to approach the Madras High Court as and when any “coercive or arm-twisting” action is taken by the central government under the new IT Rules 2021 include Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) and former editor of The Hindu, Mukund Padmanabhan.