The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Union government, the Delhi Police and search engine Google’s indigenous branch, on a petition by a religious organisation seeking directions for removal of clippings of the controversial film Innocence of Muslims from YouTube as they were offensive to Islam.

A Division Bench of Justices Darmar Murugesan and Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked the respondents to file their replies by January 23, 2013.

Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of the Jamiat Ulema-I-Hind, in his petition, urged the court to issue a direction, in the interest of the public, to the respondents to permanently and completely remove or block or ban with immediate effect the exhibition, transmission or broadcast of the film or any contents or parts or its video or clippings or trailers or their similar versions with different titles from the Internet website YouTube.

He said Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan already banned Google and YouTube when they failed to remove the film.

All websites showing the film should be banned if the government was not able to direct Google to remove it, the petitioner suggested.