The Ministry of Electronics and Information technology (Meity) has said it does not keep any details of websites blocked by it.
“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology does not maintain details of websites blocked in India,” Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology Rajeev Chandrasekhar informed parliament last week.
The Minister was replying on March 24 to a query from fellow parliamentarians in Rajya Sabha (Upper House) who had asked for the year-wise and category-wise details of websites blocked in India between 2014-15 to 2022-23.
To another part of the same question on whether it was a fact that the SFLC.in Website Blocking Report had stated that 55,605 websites were blocked in India from 2014 to September 2022, the Ministry denied any knowledge of the report mentioned.
“Government is not having any such records as stated inSFLC.in Website Blocking Report,” Chandrasekhar submitted.
Asked whether the website blocking breached the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech and expression, and the steps to safeguard such rights, the Minister stated: “The Government blocks only those websites which infringe the provisions specified in section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and based on the directions of the hon’ble courts.
“The policies of the government are aimed at ensuring an Open, Safe and Trusted and Accountable Internet for its users across the country. With the expansion of the Internet and more and more Indians coming online, for achieving this aim and protecting the rights of users, the Central Government has notified the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021). As Internet and the issues in the cyberspace continue to evolve, the IT Rules, 2021 have been further amended in October, 2022.”