Amol Palekar’s Plea Challenging IT Rules For OTT Platforms: Delhi HC Seeks Centre’s Stand

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has sought the Centre’s stand on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by actor-director Amol Palekar challenging the constitutional validity of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 governing OTT platforms.

Palekar has also sought direction for the IT Rules 2021 to be declared “ultra-vires” of the Constitution and IT Act, PTI reported.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora issued the notice to the Central government.

The PIL stated that the IT Rules seeking to regulate platforms that provide curated catalogue of audio-visual content over-the-top (OTT) platforms, under Part III by imposing governmental oversight, a Code of Ethics, and requirements to self-classify go far beyond the object and scope of the parent IT Act.

“The censorship built into the impugned rules, along with its State-driven mechanism to deal with complaints regarding the content offered on OTT platforms is nothing but designed to have a chilling effect and violative of Article 19(1)(a) (right to freedom of speech and expression) and Article 21 (right to life and personal liberty),” stated the PIL

The matter has been listed for hearing on August 14.

The Supreme Court earlier this year transferred all pending cases challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 before different high courts of the country to the Delhi HC.

The rules seek to regulate functioning of online media portals and publishers, OTT platforms and social media intermediaries.

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