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SC stayed Govt’s ‘Fact Check Unit’

Why is it in the news?

  • The Supreme Court has issued a stay on the amended Information Technology (IT) Rules, which introduced provisions for a “Fact Check Unit” (FCU) empowered to identify “fake news” on social media platforms.

More about the news

  • The FCU was notified by the Union Electronics and IT Ministry on March 20, 2024, as a statutory body under the Press Information Bureau with the authority to flag false information related to the central government and its agencies on social media sites.
  • The amended IT Rules, 2021, which allowed the Ministry to appoint the FCU, were notified in April 2023. However, they faced legal challenges, and a two-judge Bench of the Bombay High Court delivered a split verdict on January 31, 2024, regarding the challenge to the Rules.
  • Since the split verdict, a third judge’s opinion was awaited to create a majority decision. Meanwhile, an appeal was filed before the Supreme Court against the rejection of interim stay on the amended Rules.

However, the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud, stayed the amended Rules until the Bombay High Court reaches a final conclusion.

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