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Section 69(A) of IT Act

2023 FEB 10

Preliminary   > Security   >   Cyber security   >   Cyber crime

Why in news?

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued orders to block 138 online betting platforms and 94 money lending apps under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

More about the news:

  • The decision was based on a recommendation of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • The MHA had received inputs from central intelligence agencies that some of the sites and apps were allegedly linked to China and contained material prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

About Section 69(A) of IT Act:

  • Section 69A of the IT Act allows the Central Government or any of its officers specially authorised by it in this behalf to issue content-blocking orders to online intermediaries such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telecom service providers, web hosting services, search engines, online marketplaces etc.
  • However, the Section requires the information or content being blocked to be deemed a threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order.
  • The intermediary who fails to comply with the direction issued shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and also be liable to fine.
  • Although MeitY derives these powers from the IT Act, it is the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules,2009 which explain the process to issue such orders.

Add ons:

  • In a landmark 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court in “Shreya Singhal vs Union of India” struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act of 2000 which entailed punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services etc.
  • The plea had also challenged Section 69A of the Information Technology Rules 2009 but the SC held this to be “constitutionally valid”.


Consider the following statements:

1. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is empowered to issue content-blocking orders to online intermediaries

2. Both central and state government is empowered to issue online content-blocking orders under the IT Act

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2