India: Madras HC Interprets Coercive Implementation of IT Rules as Infringing Free Speech

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Staff Writer, TLR

Published on July 14, 2023, 17:41:00

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India: Madras HC Interprets Coercive Implementation of IT Rules as Infringing Free Speech

The Madras HC stated that the stay on IT Rules, given by the Bombay HC, needs to be of pan-India application. In addition, the Court stated in its interim decision that any action conducted in reliance on Rules 3 and 7 of the IT Rules 2021 would be contingent on the outcome of the constitutional validity challenge to the Rules. Rule 3 requires intermediaries to undertake due diligence, while Rule 7 allows for coercive action against intermediaries who violate the Rules. The court observed that, “There is substantial basis to the petitioners' assertion that Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution may be infringed in how the Rules may be coercively applied to intermediaries". Reference was also made to the Safe Harbour protection given to the tech platforms and the same being taken away now. It was observed that it is difficult for big platforms such as Facebook to inspect each and every content and assess genuineness of each and every request.

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