HC asks Centre to inform whether IT Rules are being implemented

The Delhi High Court Thursday asked the Centre to inform it whether the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 are being properly implemented.

The high court also sought to know from the Centre whether the mechanism put in place by several social media intermediaries include the appointment of internal grievance officers.

Justice Subramonium Prasad asked the Centre’s counsel to take instructions in the matter and listed it for further hearing in February 2024.

The high court was hearing a petition by a subdivisional magistrate (SDM) in Uttar Pradesh seeking to direct the authorities to take necessary action for deleting news, audios, videos, fake news and ugly songs from social media platforms and news channels.

The plea also sought direction to social media intermediaries and several media houses not to share any content against the SDM, a woman, and to set up their internal complaint redressal mechanism and ensure that prior consent from the person is taken before releasing any content or views related to personal life in the public domain.

During the hearing, the counsel for some of the social media platforms and media houses said they have a self-regulatory policy as per the IT Rules.

The court also asked the Centre to ensure that all the respondents have a proper regulatory mechanism in accordance with the rules.

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The petitioner, who is facing matrimonial disputes with her husband, said she has a fundamental right to privacy, which includes the right to keep personal and intimate matters private and free from unwarranted intrusion and publishing personal information, messages and recordings on social media without her consent violates this right and causes significant distress.

The petitioner, represented through senior advocate V K Shukla and lawyer Satyam Singh Rajput, said the content being circulated on social media is defamatory and it includes derogatory language, abusive posts and false allegations aimed at tarnishing the woman’s reputation and character.

The plea said despite registration of the FIR, no effective steps have been taken by the police authorities and the petitioner’s husband is giving interview in media and fake news, articles and videos are being circulated on social media.

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