Even as the Indian government informed the Supreme Court in a submission that it had brought regulations for the digital media after having received many complaints, the apex court yesterday stayed proceedings pending before several high courts across the country on pleas related to regulation of over-the-top (OTT) platforms.
A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, according to Press Trust of India, was told by India’s top law officer Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that despite the apex court’s earlier order issuing notice on the transfer plea filed by the federal government to club all such petitions filed in various high courts, the Punjab and Haryana High Court was proceeding in the matter pending there.
The bench observed that notice on transfer petition means that proceedings going on have to stay.
Mehta said several fresh petitions were being filed in different high courts on the issue.
“Then we will stay proceedings before all high courts and hear the matter in second week after the Holi break,” the bench said.
The top court had earlier issued notice on a transfer petition filed by the federal government seeking to club all petitions filed in various high courts on the issue of regulating OTT platforms.
On February 25, 2021, the Indian government announced sweeping guidelines for SM and OTT platforms, and digital news publishers that in a nutshell could be said to have empowered self-regulation under government oversight. The guidelines seek to put an end to a free run of edgy, highly political and sexual content on streaming services, apart from trying to check spread of misinformation and fake news on SM and on the Internet from within and outside the country emphasizing on identification of `first originator’ of such messages on SM platforms.
Meanwhile, the federal government on Tuesday also filed an affidavit in a case filed by advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha informing the Supreme Court that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 have been put in place to regulate online OTT platforms and digital media, Bar and Benchlegal website reported.
It was submitted that the said rules were framed after the government received several complaints from civil society and politicians alike regarding the content on online streaming platforms
The affidavit stated that the government had amended the allocation of business of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting through an amendment in the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961. Through a gazette notification dated November 9, 2020, it has brought within the purview of the I&B Ministry.