The Supreme Court on Monday stayed further proceedings in all High Courts challenging the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 or the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules 2021.
A bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and A S Oka passed the order while hearing a batch of petitions, including those raising the issue of hate speech and seeking regulations for OTT (over-the-top) platforms.
“We direct stay of further proceedings pending before the High Courts in the respective cases or to be filed hereafter until the next date of hearing involving a challenge to the IT Rules or Cable TV (Amendment) Rules, which are the subject matter of proceedings in these cases,” the bench said and posted the matter for hearing on May 19. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the bench that there are several petitions in the matter pending before the apex court.
He said some High Courts have stayed the statutory regulations and the Centre has filed special leave petitions (SLPs) against those orders.
“Can your lordships consider granting stay so far as transfer petitions are concerned so that no further orders are passed,” Mehta said. The bench also issued notices on the petitions before it in which notices were not yet issued.
After the apex court stayed further proceedings before the HCs in these matters, one of the advocates appearing in the matter said they had filed a petition before the Kerala High Court which had passed an interim order. “We are not interfering with those interim orders as of now,” the bench observed.