The Emergency Paradox: Misuse of powers under Rule 16 of the IT Rules, 2021

Rule 16 of the IT Rules 2021 provides for the emergency powers of the executive to block access to information on digital platforms. This allows them to bypass the tests of necessity and proportionality of a blocking request. This extensive power can be exercised on the grounds under Section 69A of the IT Act and if deemed necessary and justifiable to block such information expediently, in cases of an emergent nature. However, Rule 16 suffers from structural deformities due to a lack of procedural safeguards and an ineffective and dormant review mechanism. Provided that there is little interpretation of emergency powers by the courts in India, this mechanism has turned into an emergency paradox due to its rampant misuse.

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