Stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra is among the three petitioners
Hearing a bunch of petitions against the amended Information Technology Rules, the Bombay high court has reportedly observed that if the effect of a rule or law is unconstitutional then it has to go – no matter how laudable or high the motives are.
According to a PTI report, a division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale was hearing petitions filed by stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra, the Editors Guild of India and the Association of Indian Magazines, which termed the rules as arbitrary and unconstitutional.
The rules empower the centre to identify fake news against the government on social media. The central government had earlier told the court that it would not notify the fact-checking unit till July 10.
The amendment, originally notified on April 6, said social media companies and other intermediaries must take down content deemed fake by a government fact-check unit. It waswidelycriticised by press groups, opposition leaders and journalists. Kamra’s plea, filed a few days later, said the rules “have a chilling effect and are enough to chill people”.
Newslaundry has reported on length on the controversies surrounding the amendment and why it’s a blow for press freedom.Read about it here.
“No matter how laudable or high the motives are, if the effect is unconstitutional then it has to go,” said Justice Patel during the hearing on Thursday.
Kamra’s counsel said the intermediaries are big corporations running social media applications and they are least concerned with the information they host. The bench then noted that when the intermediaries are not concerned with the content then they would just comply with the direction from the government.
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