Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Against Blocking of Messaging App ‘Briar’ in J&K


The Delhi High Court has dismissed a plea challenging the Union Government’s decision to block the open-source messaging application “Briar” in Jammu and Kashmir, citing threats to national security and sovereignty.

A single bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad rejected the plea filed by Sublime Software Limited, the developer of the app, which contested the government’s blocking order. The plea also sought a directive for the Central Government to produce and publish the blocking order issued under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

The developer’s case argued that the blocking order was issued without adhering to the procedure outlined in the Blocking Rules, and that the blocking had rendered the software inaccessible throughout the country.

In contrast, the Central Government argued that 14 mobile messaging applications, including Briar, were blocked in Jammu and Kashmir under Section 69A of the IT Act due to content deemed prejudicial to the Sovereignty and Integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of the State, and Public Order. It was also stated that, since the petitioner entity does not have a representative in India, it could not be notified of the blocking. Furthermore, the government claimed that the blocking order could not be disclosed due to the need for strict confidentiality regarding all requests, complaints, and actions related to blocking.

While dismissing the plea, the court acknowledged that decisions made at the highest level for national security and sovereignty could be kept confidential. The court noted that the Briar application was blocked only in Jammu and Kashmir and remains usable in other parts of the country.

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