Court refuses to stay summons against Google, Facebook

February 16th, 2012 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Facebook New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Thursday refused to stay the summons issued against social networking sites Google and Facebook by a trial court over a complaint related to allegedly objectionable content on websites.

Justice Suresh Kait offered relief to the representatives of the two companies and exempted them from attending the hearing in the lower court March 13.

The high court would next hear the case May 3. The court’s direction came on a plea filed by Facebook and Google challenging the trial court’s order to prosecute them for allegedly hosting objectionable content.

The central government Jan 13 allowed the prosecution of the social networking sites, saying the content was instigating enmity between different groups on the ground of religion and was against national harmony.

Taking note of the government’s report, Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar ordered the accused to appear in person on the next date of hearing.

Petitioner Vinay Rai 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 companies.

The magistrate summoned the accused companies to face trial for allegedly committing offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code sections 292 (sale of obscene books and material) and 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person).

The trial court 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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