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Updated: December 25, 2011 03:36 IST

Court sets deadline for social networking sites

PTI
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In this file photo surfers are seen at an Internet cafe in Guwahati. A Delhi court has directed social media sites including Facebook and Google to remove all “anti-religious” or “anti-social” content by February 6, 2012.
AP In this file photo surfers are seen at an Internet cafe in Guwahati. A Delhi court has directed social media sites including Facebook and Google to remove all “anti-religious” or “anti-social” content by February 6, 2012.

Setting a deadline for 22 social networking sites including the Facebook, the Google, the Yahoo and the Microsoft to remove all “anti-religious” or “anti-social” content, a Delhi court on Saturday directed the companies to file compliance reports by February 6.

Additional Civil Judge Mukesh Kumar, who had on December 20 in a ex-parte order issued summons to the social networking websites, granted around one and half month for compliance of his order.

Out of 22, the representatives of two websites, the Yahoo India Pvt Ltd and the Microsoft, appeared in court and submitted that they have not got the copies of court order and complaint against them and pleaded the judge to provide the same.

Santosh Pandey, counsel appearing for complainant Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, assured the court that he would provide the companies with the copy of complaint and other related documents.

Compliance report

Pandey, after the court proceedings, told journalists that the websites have to submit a compliance report to the court by February 6 detailing what action they had taken to remove the objectionable and derogatory contents from the websites.

Raging controversy

The court's order came amid a raging controversy over monitoring the content on Internet and of those websites depending on user generated contents, which arose after Union Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal asked the social networking websites to “screen” the contents.

On the last day of hearing on December 20, the court after going through the several printouts of the objectionable contents, CD and other documents, found them defamatory and derogatory and ordered to take them off from the sites.

“I have gone through the record carefully wherein the plaintiff has also filed a CD containing all the defamatory articles and photographs. In my considered opinion, the photographs shown by the plaintiff have content of defamation and derogation against the sentiments of every community.”

“In such circumstances, I am of the view that plaintiff has a prima facie case in his favour. Moreover, the balance of convenience is also against the defendants (websites) and in favour of the plaintiff,” the judge had said.

“Moreover, if the defendant is not directed to remove the defamatory articles and contents from the social networking websites, not only the plaintiff but every individual who is having religious sentiments would suffer irreparable loss and injury and cannot be compensated in terms of money,” the judge had said.

In another case, Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar on Friday taken cognisance of a private criminal complaint and directed the Centre to take “immediate appropriate steps.”

The court also issued summons to 21 social networking websites including the Facebook, the Microsoft, the Google, the Yahoo and the Youtube, for facing criminal proceedings for allegedly webcasting objectionable contents.

Keywords: social media

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