A Delhi court on Saturday asked a senior government official to appear and explain to it the process of serving summonses to US-based websites, including Facebook and Google, accused of promoting class enmity and undermining national integrity.
Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja issued the summon to Amar Chand, Under Secretary in Home Ministry, for October 9 in connection with the case filed against 21 social networking websites for allegedly committing offences of selling obscene books and objects to youths and criminal conspiracy.
The court’s order came after it received a reply from the official following its direction for serving summonses to the US-based social networking websites through the MHA.
“The summonses were sent on June 12, 2012. In response to the said summonses, Mr. Amar Chand has sent a reply along with an annexure setting out the details mentioned in Article 4 of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between US and India. Let Mr. Amar Chand, under secretary, be summoned for October 9,” the court said.
The court, on June 8, had directed the MHA to get the summonses served to various US-based websites which have been arrayed as accused in a complaint filed by Vinay Rai.
The websites named in the complaint include - Facebook, Orkut, YouTube, Yahoo, Blogspot, Google and Microsoft.
The court had earlier discharged two websites, Shyni Blog and Exbii after the complainant’s counsel S P M Tripathi said that he did not want to prosecute these two as their addresses were not found despite efforts.
The court had said that some of the accused were just “brand names” and no other information, including their addresses, has been mentioned in the complaint.
Earlier, the court had given a Union Law Ministry’s circular, dealing with the service of process in foreign countries, to Mr. Rai’s counsel.
The Centre had earlier said there was sufficient material to proceed against the websites for alleged offences.
The court had on December 23 last year issued summonses to 21 social networking websites for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and objects to youths.