The Supreme Court on Friday ordered that the Central government's transfer petition on Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021) be tagged with a pending special leave petition relating to the issue (Union of India vs Foundation for Independent Journalism & ors). .The Court, however, refused to pass any interim order staying the proceedings before various High Courts challenging the Rules. .The Central government by way of its transfer petition has sought transfer of all cases challenging the constitutionality of the IT Rules 2021, from various High Courts to the Supreme Court..When the case came up for hearing on Friday, a Bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and Sanjiv Khanna tagged the plea with an appeal filed by Justice for Rights Foundation pending before the top court. This was after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Central government, pointed out that there are cases pending before the Supreme Court challenging the IT Rules. "We will tag with a pending SLP," the Court said. The request by the government to stay the proceedings was turned down for the time being. "We will not pass that order today. We are just tagging and list before appropriate bench on July 16," the Court said. .The Central government had moved the top court for transfer of all petitions to the Supreme Court citing multiplicity of proceedings. ."To avoid prolixity, multiplicity of proceedings and divergent judicial views on the validity of the said Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, it is humbly prayed that the aforesaid writ Petitions may kindly be withdrawn from the respective High Courts and be transferred to this Hon'ble court and be tried and disposed off by this Hon'ble Court in the interest of justice," the Central government had submitted. .The transfer plea contended that if such individual petitions are decided independently by High Courts, the same may result "in a likelihood of conflict between the decisions of the Hon'ble High Court and this Hon'ble Court.".The transfer plea was filed way back in April in the wake of several high courts including Delhi, Bombay, Madras and Kerala High Courts being seized of such cases..On July 5, Delhi High Court bench led by Justice Rekha Palli heard a plea by one Amit Acharya, who sought action against Twitter users for their tweets on a video from Ghaziabad showing a Muslim man being assaulted. The petition had sought a direction to Twitter to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer as required under Rule 4 of the IT Rules, 2021.An affidavit filed by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) before the Delhi High Court stated,"In spite of the three months’ time granted to all SSMIs to comply with the IT Rules 2021 having expired on 26.05.2021, Respondent No. 2 (Twitter) has failed to fully comply with the same.".Central government told the Delhi High Court that Twitter is not complying with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021), given the fact that the person appointed to deal with grievances that arise in India is residing in the United States of America..Meanwhile, Madras High Court too on June 23 issued notice in a writ petition moved by the Digital News Publishers Association, comprising thirteen media outlets and journalist Mukund Padmanabhan challenging the constitutional validity of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules, 2021).Thirteen media outlets in India under the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) had moved the Madras High Court against the new IT Rules, asking that the court declare the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 as ultra vires, void and violative of fundamental rights under the Constitution. Earlier, on June 10, the Court had issued notice in a similar plea moved by Carnatic musician, author and activist TM Krishna..Similar petitions were also filed before the Bombay and Kerala High Courts..The plea before Bombay High Court by a legal news website and former journalist too contended that the new IT Rules are contrary to the provisions of law including Article 14 (equality before the law), Articles 19 (1) (a) (to freedom of speech and expression), 19 (1) (g) (to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business).