Blocking of Websites Rules

1. Short title and commencement.–

(1) These rules may be called the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.

2. Definitions.– In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires:-

(a) “Act” means the Information Technology Act, 2000 (21 of 2000);

(b) “computer resource” means computer resource as defined in clause (k) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Act;

(c) “Designated Officer” means an officer designated as Designated Officer under rule 3;

(d) “Form” means a form appended to these rules;

(e) “intermediary” means an intermediary as defined in clause (w) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Act;

(f) “nodal officer” means the nodal officer designated as such under rule 4;

(g) “organisation” means -

(i) Ministries or Departments of the Government of India;
(ii) State Governments and Union territories;
(iii) Any agency of the Central Government, as may be notified in the Official Gazette, by the Central Government;

(h) “request” means the request for blocking of access by the public to any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource;

(i) “Review Committee” means the Review Committee constituted under rule 419A of Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951.

3. Designated Officer.

The Central Government shall designate, by notification in the Official Gazette, an officer of the Central Government, not below the rank of a Joint Secretary, as the “Designated Officer” for the purpose of issuing directions for blocking of access by the public to any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource under sub-section (2) of section 69A of the Act.

4. Nodal officer of organisation.--

Every organisation, for the purpose of these rules, shall designate one of its officers as the Nodal Officer and shall intimate the same to the Central Government in the Department of Information Technology under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India and also publish the name of the said Nodal Officer on its website.

5. Direction by Designated Officer.–

The Designated Officer may, on receipt of any request from the Nodal Officer of an organisation or a competent court, by order, direct any Agency of the Government, or intermediary, to block access by the public to any information, or part thereof, generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource for any of the reasons specified in sub-section (1) of section 69A of the Act.

6. Forwarding of request by organisation.–

(1) Any person may send their complaint to the Nodal Officer of the concerned organisation for blocking of access by the public to any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource:

PROVIDED that any request, other than one from the Nodal Officer of the organisation, shall be sent with the approval of the Chief Secretary of the concerned State or territory to the Designated Officer:

PROVIDED further that in case a Union territory has no Chief Secretary, then such request may be approved by the Adviser to the Administrator of that Union territory.

(2) The organisation shall examine the complaint received under sub-rule (1) to satisfy itself about the need for taking of action in relation to the reasons enumerated in sub-section (1) of section 69A of the Act, and after being satisfied, it shall send the request through its Nodal Officer to the Designated Officer in the format specified in the Form appended to these rules.

(3) The Designated Officer shall not entertain any complaint or request for blocking of information directly from any person.

(4) The request shall be in writing, on the letterhead of the respective organisation, complete in all respects, and may be sent either by mail, or fax or e-mail signed with electronic signature of the Nodal Officer:

PROVIDED that in case the request is sent by fax or by e-mail, which is not signed with electronic signature, the Nodal Officer shall provide a signed copy of the request so as to reach the Designated Officer within a period of three days of receipt of the request by fax or e-mail.

(5) On receipt, each request shall be assigned a number, along with the date and time of its receipt by the Designated Officer, and he shall acknowledge the receipt thereof to the Nodal Officer within a period of twenty four hours of its receipt.

7. Committee for examination of request.

The request, along with the printed sample content of the alleged offending information, or part thereof, shall be examined by a committee consisting of the Designated Officer as its chairperson, and representatives, not below the rank of Joint Secretary in Ministries of Law and Justice, Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team appointed under sub-section (1) of section 70B of the Act.

8. Examination of request.–

(1) On receipt of a request under rule 6, the Designated Officer shall make all reasonable efforts to identify the person or intermediary who has hosted the information, or part thereof, as well as the computer resource on which such information, or part thereof, is being hosted, and where he is able to identify such person or intermediary and the computer resource hosting the information, or part thereof, which have been requested to be blocked for public access, he shall issue a notice by way of letter, fax or e-mail, signed with electronic signatures, to the person or intermediary in control of such computer resource to appear and submit their reply and clarifications, if any, before the committee referred to in rule 7, at a specified date and time, which shall not be less than forty-eight hours from the time of receipt of such notice by such person or intermediary.

(2) In case of non-appearance of such person or intermediary, who has been served with the notice under sub-rule (1), before the committee on such specified date and time, the committee shall give specific recommendations in writing with respect to the request received from the Nodal Officer, based on the information available with the committee.

(3) In case, such a person or intermediary, who has been served with the notice under sub-rule (1), is a foreign entity, or body corporate as identified by the Designated Officer, notice shall be sent by way of letters or fax or e-mail signed with electronic signatures to such foreign entity or body corporate and any such foreign entity or body corporate shall respond to such a notice within the time specified therein, failing which the committee shall give specific recommendation in writing with respect to the request received from the Nodal Officer, based on the information available with the committee.

(4) The committee referred to in rule 7 shall examine the request and printed sample information and consider whether the request is covered within the scope of sub-section (1) of section 69A of the Act and that it is justifiable to block such information, or part thereof, and shall give specific recommendations in writing with respect to the request received from the Nodal Officer.

(5) The Designated Officer shall submit the recommendations of the committee, in respect of the request for blocking of information, along with the details sent by the Nodal Officer, to the Secretary in the Department of Information Technology under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Government of India (hereinafter referred to as the “Secretary, Department of Information Technology”).

(6) The Designated Officer, on approval of the request by the Secretary, Department of Information Technology, shall direct any agency of the Government, or the intermediary, to block the offending information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in their computer resource for public access, within the time limit specified in the direction:

PROVIDED that in case the request of the Nodal Officer is not approved by the Secretary, Department of Information Technology, the Designated Officer shall convey the same to such Nodal Officer.

9. Blocking of information in cases of emergency.–

(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 7 and 8, the Designated Officer, in any case of emergency nature, for which no delay is acceptable, shall examine the request and printed sample information and consider whether the request is within the scope of sub-section (1) of section 69A of the Act, and it is necessary or expedient and justifiable to block such information, or part thereof, and submit the request with specific recommendations in writing to Secretary, Department of Information Technology.

(2) In a case of emergency nature, the Secretary, Department of Information Technology may, if he is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient and justifiable for blocking for public access of any information, or part thereof, through any computer resource, and after recording reasons in writing, as an interim measure, issue such directions as he may consider necessary to such identified or identifiable persons, or intermediary in control of such computer resource hosting such information, or part thereof, without giving him an opportunity of hearing.

(3) The Designated Officer, at the earliest but not later than forty-eight hours of issue of direction under sub-rule (2), shall bring the request before the committee referred to in rule 7 for its consideration and recommendation.

(4) On receipt of the recommendations of the committee, the Secretary, Department of Information Technology shall pass the final order with regard to the approval of such request, and in case the request for blocking is not approved by the Secretary, Department of Information Technology in his final order, the interim direction issued under sub-rule (2) shall be revoked and the person or intermediary in control of such information shall be accordingly directed to unblock the information for public access.

10. Process of order of court for blocking of information.–

In case of an order from a competent court in India for blocking of any information or part thereof generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in a computer resource, the Designated Officer shall, immediately on receipt of certified copy of the court order, submit it to the Secretary, Department of Information Technology and initiate action as directed by the court.

11. Expeditious disposal of request.–

The request received from the Nodal Officer shall be decided expeditiously, which in no case shall be more than seven working days from the date of receipt of the request.

12. Action for non-compliance of direction by intermediary.–

In case the intermediary fails to comply with the direction issued to him under rule 9, the Designated Officer shall, with the prior approval of the Secretary, Department of Information Technology, initiate appropriate action as may be required to comply with the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 69A of the Act.

13. Intermediary to designate one person to receive and handle directions.–

(1) Every intermediary shall designate at least one person to receive and handle the directions for blocking of access by the public to any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource under these rules.

(2) The designated person of the intermediary shall acknowledge receipt of the directions to the Designated Officer within two hours of receiving the direction, through an acknowledgement letter or fax or e-mail signed with an electronic signature.

14. Meeting of Review Committee.–

The Review Committee shall meet at least once in two months and record its findings as to whether the directions issued under these rules are in accordance with the provisions of sub-section (1) of section 69A of the Act, and if is of the opinion that the directions are not in accordance with the provisions referred to above, it may set aside the directions and issue orders for unblocking of the said information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in a computer resource for public access.

15. Maintenance of records by Designated Officer.–

The Designated Officer shall maintain complete records of requests received, and action taken thereof, in an electronic database, and also in a register of the cases of blocking for public access to the information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in a computer resource.

16. Requests and complaints to be confidential.–

Strict confidentiality shall be maintained regarding all the requests and complaints received and actions taken thereof.

FORM
[Refer rule 6(2)]

A. Complaint
1. Name of the complainant: –___________________________________________
(Person who has sent the complaint to the Govt./Nodal Officer)
2. Address :________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________
City :______________________ Pin Code:______________
3. Telephone :______________ (prefix STD code) 4. Fax (if any):__________
5. (if any):_____________________________
6. Email (if any):_____________________________________________

B : Details of website/ computer resource/intermediary/ offending Information hosted on the website
(Please give details wherever known)
7. URL / web address :________________________________
8. IP Address :___________________________
9. Hyperlink:____________________________
10. Server/Proxy Server address :__________________________________
11. Name of the Intermediary :___________________________________
12. URL of the Intermediary :____________________________________
(Please attach screenshot/printout of the offending information)
13. Address or location of intermediary in case the intermediary is telecom service provider, network service provider, internet service provider, web-hosting service provider and cyber cafe or other form of intermediary for which information under points (7), (8), (9), (10), (11) and (12) are not available.
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________

C. Details of Request for blocking
14. Recommendation/Comments of the Ministry/State Govt :______________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
15. The level at which the comments/ recommendation have been approved
(Please specify designation):__________________________________________
16. Have the complaint been examined in Ministry/State Government: Y/N
17. If yes, under which of the following reasons it falls (please tick):
(i) Interest of sovereignty or integrity of
(ii) Defence of
(iii) Security of the State
(iv) Friendly relations with foreign States
(v) Public order
(vi) For preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to above

D. Details of the Nodal Officer forwarding the complaint alongwith recommendation of the Ministry/State Govt. and related enclosures
18. Name of the Nodal Officer:_____________________________________________
19. Designation :___________________________________________________
20. organisation :________________________________________________________
21. Address : ______________________________________________________
City :______________________ Pin Code:______________
22. Telephone:________________(prefix STD code) 23. Fax (if any):____________
24. (if any):_____________________________
25. Email (if any):_____________________________________________

E. Any other information :

F. Enclosures :

1.
2.
3

Date:

Place:

Signature

(Notified on 27 October 2009)