Emergency powers under IT Rules 2021


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    The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued directions to block the first episode of the BBC Documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ on YouTube


    • Senior officials of ministries including the MEA, Home, and I&B have examined the documentary and found it to be an attempt to cast aspersions on the authority and credibility of the Supreme Court of India, sow divisions among various Indian communities, and make unsubstantiated allegations regarding actions of foreign governments in India.
    • The documentary was accordingly found to be undermining the sovereignty and integrity of India, and having the potential to adversely impact India’s friendly relations with foreign states as also public order within the country.
    • The directions were reportedly issued by the Information and Broadcasting Secretary using emergency powers under the IT Rules, 2021. 

    About Emergency powers

    • Rule 16 of the IT Rules, 2021 — formally known as the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 — notified in 2021, describes the government’s power with regard to “Blocking of information in case of emergency”.
    • The Rule says that “In case of emergency nature, the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting may if he is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient and justifiable for blocking for public access of any information or part thereof through any computer resource and…as an interim measure issue such directions as he may consider necessary to such identified or identifiable persons, publishers or intermediary in control of such computer resource hosting such information or part thereof without giving him an opportunity of hearing.”
    • Such orders may be passed on certain specified grounds including national security and public order.

    Source: IE