The Narendra Modi government sought time from the Supreme Court regarding the framing of social media regulatory norms on Tuesday. According to legal news portal Bar and Bench, the affidavit filed by the Centre stated that the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 presently deals with the obligations of online intermediaries. These rules include provisions for due diligence to be observed by these platforms under Rule 3 of these Rules. This Rule also provides for redressal mechanism for individuals and users for the protection of their reputation and dignity. The affidavit also spoke about the problems of social media.
"If on one hand technology has led to economic growth and societal development, on the other hand there has been an exponential rise in hate speech, fake news, public order, anti-national activities, defamatory postings, and other unlawful activities using Internet/Social media platforms," it said. Due to several inter-linked complexities of the matter, the Modi government told the top court that the finalisation of norms will be completed by January, 2020. On Monday, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that the ‘Internet has emerged as potent tool to cause unimaginable damage to democratic polity’. The Centre also said that new rules will be formulated in three months for ‘effective regulations’.
During the submission of the affidavit, the Supreme Court Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose transferred to itself several pending cases in various High Courts on the issue and scheduled the hearing for the last week of January 2020 before an appropriate Bench. Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General of India KK Venugopal said that there was a need to formulate stricter policies to curb ‘spread of pornography, sedition, hate, fake news and anti-national activities and terror online.’
The Supreme Court was hearing a plea of Facebook Inc for transfer of cases related to demands for linking of social media profiles of users with Aadhaar on Tuesday. These cases were pending before the high courts of Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh to the apex court. Earlier, Attorney General KK Venugopal had told the Supreme Court that social media profiles of users must be linked with Aadhaar to stop circulation of fake news, defamatory and pornographic material, and anti-national content through social media.
(With agency inputs)