Delhi-based Moves Kerala High Court Against Recent Government Ban on 14 Open Source Apps

Delhi-based legal not-for-profit organization has filed a writ petition before Kerala High Court for producing and quashing the order passed by the Central Government under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 banning the free and open source software.

The Kerala High Court today issued notice through court order to the Deputy Solicitor General of India on a challenge to the blocking of Element and Briar applications. The applications, which are Free and Open Source in nature, were blocked by the Central Government under Section 69A, IT Act, 2000 and Blocking Rules, 2009.

The matter will come up for hearing next on 29th May, 2023. provided legal assistance to the petitioners in the matter.

On 1st May, 2023, several news media outlets reported that the Central Government had blocked 14 mobile apps for messaging (under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000), on the grounds of these apps being allegedly used for communication between bad actors in the region of Jammu and Kashmir. The list of blocked applications include 2 widely- used FOSS applications, namely ‘Element’ and ‘Briar’ that software developers, technologists, innovators and entrepreneurs utilize on a daily basis.

In its petition, noted that the use of such FOSS applications enabled several benefits like enhanced interoperability, reduced costs, vendor independence, greater localization and developing local growth of the IT sector in India.

The petition also notes that the order for blocking the applications places unreasonable restrictions on the exercise of Freedom of Speech and Expression, and Freedom to Carry Out Trade and Business, as guaranteed under the Constitution of India. The order has also not been made public which suffers from the vice of gross violation of the Principles of Natural Justice insofar as no notice has been served to the Petitioners, nor has any opportunity of hearing granted till date, as mandated under the relevant rules, i.e., Blocking Rules, 2009.

The petition has been filed to produce the order banning these applications and staying the operation and implementation of the order. It also challenges Rule 16 of the Blocking Rules.

About is a donor-supported legal services organization that has united lawyers, policy analysts, technologists, business professionals, students and citizens to protect freedom in the digital world since 2010. In discussions of technology where Industry and Governments have representations, we endeavor to present the rights of Indian citizens. We fight the good fight in keeping the Internet open, secure and safe for all.

Our objective is to help Indian policymakers make informed and just decisions in the use and adoption of technology for production of pro-humanity IT. We promote innovation and open access to knowledge by helping developers make great Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and protect privacy and civil liberties of citizens in the digital world. This is achieved through education, original research, policy engagement and provision of free legal services. For press queries, please drop a mail to


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