Supreme Court Put Stay On Pending Proceedings before High Courts Regarding Regulation of Over-the-top Platforms
The Supreme Court (SC) stayed proceedings before several High Courts (HCs) on pleas related to the regulation of over-the-top (OTT) platforms. The SC bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud and also comprising Justices MR Shah and Sanjiv Khanna gave an order on a plea received by Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha seeking the establishment of a central body for monitoring content broadcast on OTT platforms.
Justice DY Chandrachud stated that issuing notice on a transfer petition meant that proceedings pending in HCs would have stayed.
A transfer petition was filed by the Union Government in the matter seeking transfer of similar petitions pending before various HCs to the SC. The Top Court had issued notice on that transfer petition during an earlier hearing.
The Court clarified that there would be a stay on similar proceedings on such petitions across India. Justice MR Shah remarked that around fifteen to twenty petitions concerning regulating OTT platforms are being heard by different HCs.
The Union Government also filed its affidavit wherein it informed the Apex Court that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021 (IT Rules) are set in place to regulate online OTT platforms and digital media.
The Court directed the Centre Government to frame the said rules as the government received several complaints from civil society and politicians regarding the content on online streaming platforms.
The Government further stated in its affidavit that the Centre had amended the allocation of business of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting through an amendment in the Allocation of Business Rules, 1961.
The IT Rules, 2021 aims to regulate content on the OTT platforms and it also imposes a code of ethics for online publishers of news media.
The Government stated in its affidavit that the mechanism is in place now regarding the regulation of the OTT platforms under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and it recently notified IT Rules, 2021.