The Central government has opposed the prayer for stay on the operation of the Information Technology (Guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) till the challenge is decided on merits by the Bombay High Court (AGIJ Promotion Of Nineteenonea Media Pvt. Ltd. & Anr. v. Union of India & Anr.)..The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) opposed the prayer for stay, stating in the affidavit that "merely because a statute comes up for examination and some arguable point is raised, which persuades the courts to consider the controversy, the legislative will, should not normally be put under suspension" under any circumstances..The MIB emphasised that there is an "inherent presumption in favour of constitutionality or validity of a subordinate legislation". It is pertinent to show that such piece of legislation is glaringly unconstitutional and till then a "judicial restraint" has to be observed in staying the implementation, their affidavit said. The affidavit also said that stay on the Rules would lead to spread of fake news and legally prohibited content..A common short affidavit was filed in the petitions challenging the recently notified IT Rules, 2021 issued under the Information Technology Act after directions of the Court. The petitioners before the Court include a digital news portal, Leaflet and a Mumbai Journalist Nikhil Mangesh Wagle..IT Rules, 2021 causing petitioners "to live in constant fear:" Bombay High Court asks Centre to file affidavit on why Rules should not be stayed.MIB informed that over "1800 digital media publishers (over 97% being of news and current affairs content) furnished information to MIB in compliance with the Rules".They also established grievance redressal mechanisms, appointed grievance officers who are disposing the grievances in accordance with the Rules. .Many publishers also communicated to MIB about formation of self-regulatory bodies, of which even Leaflet is a member. The significance of such a body was evident from the fact that no intervention had been required by the Oversight Mechanism (a statutory body under the Rules). "Since the notification of the Rules, the Ministry has not issued any single order, direction, or advisory to any digital news publisher, including the petitioner" the affidavit highlighted. .On the point of "excessive compliance burden" under the Rules for attending to a large number of grievance within a time period of 15 days, MIB submitted that "till date the Government has not received any representation from any particular digital news publisher citing the exact number of grievances received by it relating to Code of Ethics or difficulties faced in grievances". .In view of the submissions, the affidavit underscored that "there is no matter of urgency warranting interim relief to protect the petitioners from any kind of an irreparable damage".It further stated that an interim stay on the implementation or operation of Part III of the Rules would render the legally established institutional framework for digital media publishers inoperative.It may lead to an environment of impunity, and concomitant spread of fake news and legally prohibited content, the affidavit stated.MIB warned that such a situation may "impact the efforts being made by various stakeholders towards development of a safe online news media ecosystem"..On Wagle's PIL seeking stay on the portion applying to intermediaries, MIB contended that, that portion did not apply to Leaflet or any organisation.It merely stated that an intermediary on failure to observe the rules, merely loses the status of intermediary and shall be liable for action for violation of the law. .In light of the submissions and the "potentially spiralling impact of the decision of this Court", the affidavit submitted that the prayer for ad-interim or interim stay should be declined.