Criminal Trident Pack: IPC, CrPC and IEA by Sr. Adv. G.S Shukla and Adv. Raghav Arora
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Background

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy) had given a three-month time to the social platforms to comply with the new IT rules in February 2021.
  • The deadline set by the Government to accept the new guidelines will end on May 25, 2021.
  • So far none of the social media platforms have complied with the new rules.
  • Given this, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram may face a blockage on May 26 if they do not obey the new intermediary rules.
  • Koo, the Indian version of Twitter is the only social media platform that has complied with the new regulations ahead of the deadline.

Details

  • When asked whether Facebook will comply with the rules or not, a company spokesperson revealed in his statement that, “We aim to comply with the provisions of the IT rules and continue to discuss a few of the issues which need more engagement with the government. Pursuant to the IT rules, we are working to implement operational processes and improve efficiencies. Facebook remains committed to people’s ability to freely and safely express themselves on our platform.”
  • It was held by a government official that if the social media companies do not comply with the new rules by May 25, they will lose their standing and securities as intermediaries and criminal action can be taken against them as per the laws of India. Hence it is a very decisive moment for these social media companies.
  • The US-based companies had asked for six months as they were waiting for an answer from the US headquarters.

The New Guidelines in Short

  • As per the new guidelines by MEITy, the social media platforms will have to assign compliance officers in India. This officer will supervise the complaints, monitor the content, and remove the same in case it is objectionable.
  • These rules are not only applicable to social media platforms but OTT platforms as well.
  • Platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others will have to appoint a Grievance Redressal Officer based in India who will take care of the grievances and act on them in 15 days.
  • The Government wants the companies to include representatives from different ministries and form a commission to regulate the content. This is because the government thinks that social media platforms do not have a code of self-regulation

Supreme Court on New Guidelines

  • After perusing the new set of rules put forth by the Central government regarding social media and OTT platforms the Top Court held that these rules may not prove to be effective as they lack penal provisions and have “No teeth” and asked the government to consider framing more stringent regulations.
  • This observation came from Hon’ble Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy while hearing an anticipatory bail plea of Amazon Prime India head Aparna Purohit in the Tandav case.
  • The Solicitor General Tushar Mehta agreed with the observation of the Court and said that the government must come up with the draft of a law on the suggestions given by the court and it will be placed before the bench for authorization.
  • The plea for anticipatory bail by Purohit was allowed under the condition that she will cooperate with the police in ongoing investigations against her and others for hurting religious sentimentalities.

Do you think banning social media might be the correct course of action?

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