TMT LawsThe Amended IT Rules, 2021: Is it Meant to create a Safer Internet Space in India?

February 3, 20230


In the recent past years, as a result of rapid advancement in technology, higher access in internet, digital India initiative, and favorable demographics, India has witnessed an exponential growth in its digital ecosystem.

The advancement and growth in the Internet have brought various benefits in the day-to-day lives of individuals. However, with the rapid growth and advancement in the internet space in India the challenges and problems faced by the users are also increasing exponentially.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (“MeitY”) considering the same recently amended the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Amendment Rules, 2022 (“IT Rules, 2021”) vide Notification dated 28.10.2022, to create an open, safe, trusted and accountable internet space in India for its citizens and “Digital Nagriks”.

In this article, we attempt to discuss the amendments brought in the IT rules 2021 and how it will help create a safer internet space in India , which will help further revolutionize the digital ecosystem of India.


  1. Enhanced Due Diligence to be undertaken by an Intermediary

The MeitY in order to increase accountability of the intermediaries, has amended Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT Rules, so that intermediaries in order to create a safer internet space takes reasonable steps to prevent its users from hosting, displaying, uploading, modifying, publishing, transmitting, storing, updating or sharing any information that –

(i) belongs to another person and to which the user does not have any right;

(ii) is obscene, pornographic, paedophilic, invasive of another‟s privacy including bodily privacy, insulting or harassing on the basis of gender, racially or ethnically objectionable, relating or encouraging money laundering or gambling, or promoting enmity between different groups on the grounds of religion or caste with the intent to incite violence;

(iii) is harmful to child;

(iv) infringes any patent, trademark, copyright or other proprietary rights;

(v) deceives or misleads the addressee about the origin of the message or knowingly and intentionally communicates any misinformation or information which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature;

(vi) impersonates another person;

(vii) threatens the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order, or causes incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence, or prevents investigation of any offence, or is insulting other nation;

(viii) contains software virus or any other computer code, file or program designed to interrupt, destroy or limit the functionality of any computer resource;

(ix) violates any law for the time being in force;” 

  1. Increase Efficiency in Communication

The MeitY in order to increase efficiency in communication has vide amendment in Rule 3 of the IT Rules made it mandatory for the intermediaries to communicate its rules and regulations, privacy policy and user agreement to the user, in addition to English language in all the regional languages mentioned in Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

“Rule 3(1)(f) the intermediary shall periodically, and at least once in a year, inform its users in English or any language specified in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution in the language of his choice of its rules and regulations, privacy policy or user agreement or any change in the rules and regulations, privacy policy or user agreement, as the case may be;”

  1. To Respect the Principle of Constitution of India 

The MeitY considering the fact that there have been instances where the intermediaries have acted in violation of constitutional rights of Indian citizens, has vide amendment included Rule 3(1)(n) in IT Rules, thereby making it mandatory for the intermediaries to respect all the rights accorded to the citizens under the Constitution, including in the articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

“Rule 3(1)(n) the intermediary shall respect all the rights accorded to the citizens under the Constitution, including in the articles 14, 19 and 21.”

  1. Establishment of  Grievance Appellate Committee 

The MeitY considering large numbers of grievances being left unaddressed or unsatisfactorily addressed by Internet Intermediaries vide amendment introduced Grievance Appellate Committee (“GAC”) under Rule 3A of the IT Rules.

The GAC will be a virtual Digital platform that will operate only online and digitally, wherein the entire appeal process, from filing of appeal to the decision thereof, will be conducted digitally.

The users with the introduction of GAC will now be able to appeal against the decision of the grievance officer of the social media intermediaries and other online intermediaries before this new appellate body within a period of 30 days from the date of decision. Thereafter, once the appeal is received the GAC will deal with such appeal expeditiously and will make all the endeavors to resolve the appeal finally within a period of 30 days.

“Rule 3(3) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Grievance Officer may prefer an appeal to the Grievance Appellate Committee within a period of thirty days from the date of receipt of communication from the Grievance Officer.
(4) The Grievance Appellate Committee shall deal with such appeal expeditiously and shall make an endeavour to resolve the appeal finally within thirty calendar days from the date of receipt of the appeal”


The act of the MeitY of making it an obligation for the intermediaries to ensure that they take all the reasonable steps to prevent their users from updating or sharing any illegal/unlawful information is a well coming step, since it will ensure that intermediaries take all the reasonable steps to create an open, safe and trusted internet space for its users in India.

Furthermore, the act of communicating its privacy policy, rules and regulations, and user agreement in regional languages to its user will help create awareness and educate users much efficiently about not circulating copyrighted material and anything that can be construed as defamatory, racially or ethnically objectionable, pedophiliac, threatening the unity, integrity, defense, security or sovereignty of India or friendly relations with foreign states, or violative of any contemporary law.

The establishment of GAC, will provide an additional layer of oversight over the decision of Grievance Redressal Committee, which will help in achieving the crucial goal of making intermediaries more accountable for their actions and creating an open, safe and trusted internet space for its users in India.


With the rapid growth of Digital Ecosystem in India, there was an urgent need for a robust framework to ensure that the interests and constitutional rights of netizens are not being contravened by big tech platforms and the intermediaries are obligated to undertake high due diligence and accountability to ensure that there is a safe, open and secured internet space present in India.

The MeitY considering the same had amended the IT Rules, 2021. However, the powers given to the intermediaries to remove/moderate content can hamper the right of freedom of speech and expression of its users and, the appointments being made by the Central Government in GAC can lead to apprehensions of bias in content moderation.

Therefore, the act of the MeitY of amending the IT Rules, in order to achieve the goal of creating a safer, and secured internet space in India might have serious repercussions, which needs to be addressed by the MeitY at the earliest.

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