Mumbai: A popular digital news portal told the Bombay High Court on Thursday that the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 were an “assault on the fundamental right of freedom of speech”.
The portal in its petition has challenged the new IT Rules on.the grounds that it is violative of Articles 14 (right to equality), 19(a) (freedom of speech and expression) and 19(1)(g) (freedom to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business).
Arguing the matter, senior counsel Darius Khambata, on.behalf of news portal, told the division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice G S Kulkarni that the rules had a “chilling effect on the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution”.
“They (rules) are an assault on the fundamental right of freedom of speech. The rules say if news organisations do not follow the code of ethics, then they are open to face prosecution,” Adv Khambata said.
Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh had opposed the petition and contended that simillar petition has been filed in the Supreme Court, which will hear it shortly, hence this petition should also be transferred to the apex court.
The court has adjourned the further hearing till July 16.