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Centre establishes 3 Grievance Appellate Committees for social media users in accordance with recently amended IT Rules 2021

On the basis of the most recent amendment to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (IT Rules 2021), the Centre created three Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) on Saturday. This notification has been made public today. Three Grievance Appellate Committees, each with three members, have been established, according to the notification.

By establishing new accountability criteria for SSMIs, the IT rules 2021 ensure that no BigTech platform violates the constitutional rights of Indian citizens and create options for grievance redressal outside of the legal system.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, articulated the government’s position during the extensive public consultations on the IT Rules, saying that the government’s unambiguous goal was to ensure the safety and trust of every Digital Nagrik and the accountability of all internet platforms offering a service or product. He also stated that all complaints must be adequately addressed.

The Ministry of Electronics & IT stated in a statement that the Grievance Appellate Committee is a crucial part of the overall policy and legislative framework to ensuring that internet in India is Open, Safe & Trusted and Accountable. Numerous complaints that were unresolved or handled insufficiently by online intermediaries led to the necessity for GAC.

The GAC is supposed to foster a culture of consumer responsiveness among all internet platforms and intermediaries. The GAC will be a virtual platform that solely functions online and digitally; all aspects of the appeals process, from filing an appeal to receiving a ruling, will take place online.

The website  which will be soon online, is where the aggrieved individuals can lodge their appeals. Before this new appellate body, users will have the option to appeal a decision made by the grievance officer of social media intermediaries and other internet intermediaries. The committee will try to respond to the user’s appeal within 30 days. The government had already communicated with significant social media intermediaries.

The online platform will be available one month after this notification of the Grievance Appellate Committee — on March 1, 2023 — taking into consideration the transition period needed for the intermediaries in accordance with their demands and technological requirements. The ministry also said that there will be regular evaluations of GACs, as well as reporting and disclosures of its orders.

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