Protection of citizens’ Constitutional rights a must: Chandrasekhar

New Delhi: Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Saturday while speaking on the amendments to the IT intermediary Rules 2021 said protection of Constitutional rights of Indian citizens is a must, adding India is a trustee of rights of its citizens and Digital Nagriks.

In a major push towards an Open, Safe and Trusted and Accountable Internet, the Ministry of Electronics and IT notified these amendments aimed at protecting the rights of “Digital Nagriks”.

It also enhances due diligence requirements and ensuring accountability of social media and other intermediaries. They have been notified against the backdrop of complaints regarding the action/inaction on the part of the intermediaries on user grievances regarding objectionable content or suspension of their accounts.

The intermediaries now will be expected to ensure that there is no uploading of content that intentionally communicates any misinformation or information that is patently false or untrue hence entrusting an important responsibility on intermediaries.

The rules also have made it explicit for the intermediary to respect the rights accorded to the citizens of India under the Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.

Elaborating on the new sets of rules, Chandrasekhar said these amendments have been made to ensure that internet is open, safe and trusted and accountable for our “digital nagriks”.

The amendments were notified after the Ministry followed an exhaustive public consultation process involving all stakeholders.

Sharing the government’s vision and intent to work along with intermediaries for achieving the common goal of keeping the internet safe and trusted, the Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship affirmed that “these rules marks new partnership between the government and intermediaries in making and keeping our internet safe, trusted and accountable”.

Currently, intermediaries are only required to inform users about not uploading certain categories of harmful/unlawful content.

These amendments impose a legal obligation on intermediaries to take reasonable efforts to prevent users from uploading such content.

The new provision will ensure that the intermediary’s obligation is not a mere formality.

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