Court quashes summons against Yahoo for lack of evidence (Lead)

March 2nd, 2012 - 9:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Friday quashed the charge against Yahoo India of hosting objectionable content on its website, and set aside the summons issued to it by a trial court for initiating criminal proceedings.

Quashing the criminal proceedings against Yahoo India, Justice Suresh Kait accepted the company’s plea that there was neither any material on record nor any allegations in the complaint against it.

Setting aside the summons, the judge said: “There is no evidence on record against the petitioner.”

Allowing the company’s contention that it only provides email and chat services, the court said: “Being intermediary, you are exempted.”

Yahoo was one of 21 websites facing criminal proceedings for hosting objectionable content.

The metropolitan magistrate had Dec 23 summoned 21 websites, including Yahoo, Google and Facebook, to face trial for allegedly committing the offence punishable under Sections 292 (sale of obscene books) and 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, granting relief to Yahoo India, the high court also warned it that the case against it can come up again if any credible piece of evidence is filed against it.

Yahoo India had told the court that the suit against it was “motivated” and should be dismissed.

The company said that there was neither any material on record nor any allegation in the complaint against it. The company also submitted that it could not be made a party in the case as the complainant did not disclose any cause of action against it.

Appearing for Yahoo, its counsel Arvind Nigam said it is not a social networking site like other accused in the case, and only provides email and chat services. Moreover, no objectionable material has been attributed to it and hence its case was different from others, he argued.

The high court had earlier refused Yahoo India’s plea for staying a trial court’s proceedings against it.

Earlier, complainant Vinay Rai had approached the trial court to remove objectionable content from 21 websites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube. Among these, 12 websites are of foreign-based.

The trial court had observed that the material submitted by the complainant contained obscene pictures and derogatory articles pertaining to Hindu deities, Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ.

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