Bringing out the big guns. Justice for Rights appeals.

Highlights

  • Background: On February 8, 2019, a PIL by the Justice for Rights Foundation that made a plea for separate guidelines to regulate content on online streaming platforms was rightly dismissed by the Delhi High Court. However, late last week, an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court against this decision.
  • An appeal to an appeal: To ensure the freedom of speech and expression through online viewing platforms, we hope the Supreme Court of India upholds the decision taken by the Delhi High Court in its stance on regulation of online streaming content.

Background

The Justice for Rights Foundation approached the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi (W.P. (C) 1164/2018) requesting for guidelines on regulating certain kinds of content on the online platform, that included abusive language, obscenity amongst many others.  To our  delight, the judgement provided by the Hon'ble Court established the capacity of the Information Technology Act, 2000 to regulating online content through its provisions with no need for external regulations.  To this, the Justice for Rights Foundation filed a Special Leave Petition in the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India. The court issued notice on May 5, 2019 (Read the order here).

In our previous post, we looked at the reasoning provided by the Delhi High Court in maintaining that the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 were sufficient to deal with any concerns. We continue to appreciate the submissions by both the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology that enabled the Court to establish, that no need for further guidelines were necessary.

An appeal for an appeal

To further this victory, the judgement in the Justice for Rights case was relied upon in yet another case Nikhil Bhalla v. Union of India & Ors (W.P.(C) 7123/2018) where it was dismissed by the Delhi High Court, as we updated you earlier.

However, this appeal to the Supreme Court by Justice for Rights has the potential to impact the progressive stance taken by not only the Delhi High Court but also the Ministries involved. The remaining cases around the country as a result, are at the behest of this appeal and could succumb to a transfer to the Supreme Court.

We hope that the Supreme Court will uphold the position taken by the Hon'ble Delhi Court and the Ministries in ensuring the uncensored freedom of viewing content sphere. IFF will continue to play a role that brings about this outcome.

  • Special Leave Petition to the Supreme Court of India by Justice for Rights [link]
  • Order of the Delhi High Court in Nikhil Bhalla v. Union of India & Ors (W.P.(C) 7123/2018) [link]
  • Order of the Delhi High Court in Justice for Rights v. Union of India (W.P. (C) 1164/2018) [link]

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