Madras High Court takes prima facie view: Says coercive application of IT Rules against Intermediaries violates Article 19(1)(a)

Certain petitions including a Public Interest Litigation were filed before the Madras High Court by acclaimed Carnatic musician TM Krishna, Digital news Publishers Association as well as journalist Mukund Padmanabhan.

The Hon’ble High Court in these petitions passed an interim order which stated that the Bombay High Court’s order dated August 14, 2021 which stayed the operation of sub-rules (1) and (3) of Rule 9 of the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 ought to have a ‘pan-India’ effect. These sub-rules mandate adherence to the Code of Ethics that have been annexed to the said IT Rules, 2021 and provide for a three-tier structure for addressing the grievances made in relation to publishers.

Furthermore, the Court also observed that any action taken citing Rule 3 and Rule 7 of the IT Rules, 2021 would be subject to the outcome of the challenge of the constitutional validity of the Rules. It also noted that “There is substantial basis to the petitioner’s assertion that Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution may be infringed in how the Rules may be coercively applied to Intermediaries.

Read Order here.

Supreme Court stays NCDRC order against Yash Raj Films which stated compensation has to be paid to a consumer

The Supreme Court on September 20, 2021, issued notice on a special leave petition filed by Yash Raj Films Pvt. Ltd. which challenged an order of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission. This order directed Yash Raj Films to pay Rs. 10,000/- as compensation to a consumer as the consumer was disappointed by exclusion of the song ‘Jabra Fan’, from the movie ‘Fan’.

While doing so, the Court also stayed the operation of NCDRC order against Yash Raj Films.

A bill banning online gaming of all forms has been tabled in the legislative assembly of Karnataka

The Karnataka government has tabled a bill in the legislative assembly to ban online gambling of all forms. The Karnataka Police (Amendment) Bill, 2021 seeks to prohibit all wagering, betting, gambling of all nature and forms, except lottery and horse race in the state. The government said that it has taken this step because they want to ‘wean’ citizens from ‘vice’. The bill is likely to affect popular online games from RummyCircle, Junglee Games and Mobile Premier League among others.

Kerala High Court directs the Centre to take action within four weeks on a complaint filed against the CBFC certification of an upcoming movie, ‘Marakkar’

A plea was filed by one of the descendants of Kunjali Marakkar against the CBFC certification of the upcoming Malayalam movie ‘Marakkar Arabikkidalinte Simham’. The said movie is based on the life of a naval chief of the Zamorin of Calicut and is said to be the most expensive Malayalam film ever made. The said plea sought a restraint on the release of the film on the ground that the film allegedly results in distortion of history. The plea also contended that the government or the district collector has the power to suspend the exhibition of the film as it is likely to cause breach of peace.

Also, the Central Board of Film Certification informed the petitioner that the said complaint has been forwarded to the concerned Ministry and added that the Centre has no role or right to interfere in this regard. However, the Kerala High Court directed the Union Government to take action as per the law within four weeks on this plea.

Bombay High Court seeks reply by Salman Khan on Kamaal Khan’s plea for quashing a lower court’s order

The self-proclaimed film critic Kamaal R Khan filed a plea in Bombay High Court for quashing of a lower court’s interim order restraining him from making any comments on Salman Khan, his movies or his companies. The said order was passed in June this year in a defamation case filed by Salman Khan against Kamaal R Khan over his comments on the movie Radhe and various other videos and commentaries.

Kamaal R Khan, in his plea said that a film viewer cannot be prevented from giving his opinion or making comments about a film or the characters used in the film. He further added that this order is no less than a ‘gag order’ and the Court could restrain him from making personal comments on the actor but not on fair criticism of the movie.

On September 16, 2021, a single bench of the Bombay High Court issued notices to Salman Khan, his production company, Salman Khan ventures, and several social media intermediaries seeking their response to this plea.

Mumbai Court warns Kangana Ranaut that in case of non-appearance on the next hearing, an arrest warrant will be issued against her

The Andheri Metropolitan Magistrate RR Khan, on September 14, 2021, reprimanded Bollywood actress Kanagana Ranaut for failure to appear before it in the criminal defamation case filed against her by lyricist Javed Akhtar. Further, the Court said that in case of non-appearance by the actress on the next hearing, an arrest warrant will be issued against her.