Centre for Communication Governance at NLU delhi
Indian Legislation: Primary and Secondary

Indian Telegraph Act, 1885

Section 5(2) of the Act empowers the Central and State Governments to “direct that any message or class of messages to or from any person or class of persons, or relating to any particular subject, brought for transmission by or transmitted or received by any telegraph, shall not be transmitted…”.

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Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

The provision permits broad state action to curb any violation of law and order. It has been used by District Magistrates to effect internet shutdowns in the past. 

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Information Technology Act,2000

Section 69A empowers the Central Government to direct“any agency of the Government or intermediary to block for access by the public or cause to be blocked for access by the public any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource”

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Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009

These rules, framed under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, provide for an elaborate mechanism with important safeguards for blocking individual websites on the internet.

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Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017

These Rules were issued in August 2017 by the Department of Telecommunications, Government of India under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. The Rules seek to regulate the temporary suspension of telecom services due to public emergency or public safety. The authorities functioning on national or state levels are authorised to invoke such provisions to shut down the internet services if there is any emerging threat of public emergency or threat to public safety.

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