Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Motion For Annulment Of Intermediary Guidelines Moved In Rajya Sabha

Of late cases of excessive delegated legislations have increased a lot in India. So much so that even the main legislative function of Parliament of India has been overshadowed by this exercise and Parliament of India has become almost redundant.

Unfortunately, Parliament of India seldom considers these delegated legislations that are formulated in the form of Rules. This is also the main reason why many constitutional issues that are required to be discussed through a debate in Parliament never take place.

The Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the cyber law of India. It is also the classic example where Parliament of India has abdicated its legislative duties in favour of Indian executive. Instead of making a full fledged and composite cyber law of India, the Parliament of India has left it incomplete and for the executive branch of Indian constitution to take care of.

The department of Information Technology (DIT) has drafted many rules under the IT Act 2000 and they have never been scrutinised by the Parliament of India in the manner they are required to be scrutinised. Perhaps the technical nature of the legislation is the main reason why no Member of Parliament is in a position to analyse and challenge the same.

Fortunately, a Rajya Sabha MP from Kerala, and a member of the Communist Part of India (Marxist), has moved a motion in the Rajya Sabha for the annulment of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011. It is not the case that these Rules are bad but the incident at least showed that Members of Rajya Sabha/Parliament take interest in the cyber law of India. As a matter of fact all Rules made under the IT Act 2000 must be seriously debated in the Parliament of India.

The Rajya Sabha did what it could have done the best. The Rajya Sabha recommended that this motion should also be recommended to the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha resolved that the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 issued under clause (zg) of sub-section (2) of Section 87 read with sub-section (2) of Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 published in the Gazette of India dated the 13th April, 2011 vide Notification No. G.S.R 314(E) and laid on the Table of the House on the 12th August, 2011, be annulled. The Rajya Sabha also recommended to Lok Sabha that Lok Sabha do concur on this Motion.

On the similar matter, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has also been filed in the Kerala High Court, challenging the constitutional validity of these Rules. This entire exercise could have been avoided if the Parliament of India manages its legislative functions more properly. The bigger question is do we need Parliament of India at all in these circumstances.

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