IT Rules Split Verdict: Centre Delays Fact Check Unit Amid Bombay High Court Decision On Interim Relief

IT Rules Split Verdict: Centre Delays Fact Check Unit Amid Bombay High Court Decision On Interim Relief

Justice Chandurkar will hear the application for grant of interim relief on February 28, 29 and March 1.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Friday, February 16, 2024, 03:29 AM IST
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IT Rules Split Verdict: Centre Delays Fact Check Unit Amid High Court Decision On Interim Relief |

The Centre informed the Bombay High Court on Thursday that it will not notify the Fact Check Unit (FCU) till the third judge decides on the applications for interim relief.

The statement was made by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta before Justice AS Chandurkar, who was appointed by the chief justice to decide on the split verdict delivered by a bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale on petitions challenging the amendment to the Information Technology (IT) Act with regard to setting up of FCU.

Justice Chandurkar will hear the application for grant of interim relief on February 28, 29 and March 1.

The petition and petitioners

The petitioners, standup comedian Kunal Kamra and others, in their interim application have sought stay on the notification for formation of FCU till the petitions are finally decided.

During the hearing, Mehta said, “I have made a statement that we will not notify the FCU till the interim application is decided...We will not inconvenience Your Lordship.”

The Centre amended the IT Act last year which empowered the Central government to flag “fake, false and misleading” news pertaining to the government on social media through FCU.

On January 31, the bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale had delivered a split verdict. Justice Patel ruled against the government and struck down the amendment whereas Justice Gokhale had upheld its validity. Then CJ then appointed Justice Chandurkar to deliver his opinion, which will be the deciding opinion.

After his opinion, the bench of Justices Patel and Gokhale will then pronounce the majority judgment.

Mehta had first made a statement to the court in April 2023 that the formation of FCUs would not be notified. The statement had continued till the judgement would be delivered. However, when a split verdict was delivered, Mehta said the statement will continue for 10 days more. As he was unwilling to extend the statement, the applications were filed by the petitioners.  

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