Chief Justice To Reconsider Bench On IT Rules Split Verdict After Concerns Over Fact-Check Unit Extension Surface

Chief Justice To Reconsider Bench On IT Rules Split Verdict After Concerns Over Fact-Check Unit Extension Surface

After the split verdict, a third judge would hear the matter and decide on the issue. The decision of the third judge would be the deciding judgment.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Monday, February 05, 2024, 06:21 PM IST
article-image

The Chief Justice will pass an order, on the administrative aside, on reconstituting bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhle, which delivered a split verdict on pleas challenging the amended Information Technology (IT) Rules which empowered the Central government to flag "fake, false and misleading" news pertaining to the government on social media through Fact Check Unit (FCU).

A third judge would decide on the issue

After the split verdict, a third judge would hear the matter and decide on the issue. The decision of the third judge would be the deciding judgment. 

On Monday, counsel Navroz Seervai for stand-up comedian Kunal Kamra, who is one of the petitioners, mentioned the matter before the Chief Justice to reconstitute the bench for requesting directions to the Ministry of Electronics and IT to extend the statement, preventing the notification of the formation of the Fact-Check Units (FCU).

Seervai highlighted that Solicitor General Tushar Mehta's statement had been extended 13 times that the Centre will not notify FCU. However, on January 31, the division bench noted that it was extended to only 10 days, of which five had already passed. 

On January 31, while delivering the split verdict, the bench headed by Justice Patel had asked the petitioners to raise the extension issue before the third judge. 

Counsel's claims

The counsel pointed out that according to Bombay High Court Rules, a third judge can only adjudicate on the difference of opinion in the split verdict, and cannot decide on the interim relief as sought by them, about not notifying FCU till the final verdict. He urged the CJ to reconstitute the bench of Justices Patel and Gokhale to decide on the specific point of extending the statement, as he deemed it an extraordinary situation impacting the public at large.

Mehta opposed Seervai's request and said that the division bench had already directed the third judge to decide on the interim relief issue.

The Chief Justice assured that he would pass an administrative order. 

While Justice Gautam Patel ruled in favour of the petitioners -- Kamra, Editors Guild of India, News Broadcasters and Digital Association, and Association of Indian Magazines; Justice Neela Gokhale ruled in favour of the government. On one hand, Justice Patel asked who would fact check FCU, and on the other hand Justice Gokhale said that alleging bias against FCU members, merely because they were government appointees is unfair.

The Union government promulgated certain amendments to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, on April 6, 2023.

RECENT STORIES

UP: Poila Boishakh Celebrations At Lucknow's Bengali Club Unfolded In Grand Fashion

UP: Poila Boishakh Celebrations At Lucknow's Bengali Club Unfolded In Grand Fashion

VIDEO: Sikh Man Stripped Naked, Tied Up And Brutally Thrashed In Pakistan's Lahore

VIDEO: Sikh Man Stripped Naked, Tied Up And Brutally Thrashed In Pakistan's Lahore

Heatwave: Govt Ensures Drinking Water Availability At Railway Stations Amid Rising Temperatures

Heatwave: Govt Ensures Drinking Water Availability At Railway Stations Amid Rising Temperatures

Mumbai News: South Cyber Cell Arrests Two Suspects In ₹31.50 Lakh Investment Scam Targeting Baker...

Mumbai News: South Cyber Cell Arrests Two Suspects In ₹31.50 Lakh Investment Scam Targeting Baker...

UP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: BSP Chief Mayawati Slams BJP, Warns OF Tough Road Ahead

UP Lok Sabha Elections 2024: BSP Chief Mayawati Slams BJP, Warns OF Tough Road Ahead