The Madras High Court on Thursday stayed two sub-sections under IT Rules 2021’s Rule 9, which provide for a three-tier structure for addressing the grievances made in relation to publishers, under the Code of Ethics annexed to the rules.
A bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavulu passed the order on two petitions that were filed challenging the validity of the IT Rules.
Carnatic musician T.M. Krishna had filed a public interest litigation, while the Digital News Publishers Association, and journalist Mukund Padmanabhan had also filed a writ petition in the matter.
“There is a substantial basis to the petitioners’ assertion that there may be a violation of Article 19 (1)(a) (of the Constitution) in how the Rules may be coercively applied to intermediaries….,” the court observed.
Earlier, the same sub-section of Rule 9 had been stayed by the Bombay High Court on August 14.
With the Supreme Court scheduled to take up transfer petitions next month, the Madras High Court posted further hearing of the case to October 27.