Criminal proceeding against eBay, its chief halted

August 25th, 2008 - 10:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday halted the criminal trial of auction portal eBay India and its chief Avinash Bajaj for an alleged sale of an obscene video clip showing two Delhi students.A bench of Justice Altmas Kabir suspended a Delhi High Court ruling, which had scrapped their prosecution under penal laws but had allowed it under the new information technology law.

The apex court bench halted the trial on a lawsuit by Bajaj who challenged the high court ruling. The high court allowed his prosecution under section 85 of the Information Technology Act, 2000, for violating section 67 of the law, which prohibits publishing obscene information in electronic form.

Delhi Police had registered a criminal case against Bajaj and his erstwhile firm Baazee.Com India Pvt Ltd, now eBay India Pvt Ltd, for illegally displaying the video clip on the portal as merchandise for sale.

Bajaj, a US citizen, subsequently sold Bazee.Com to eBay in 2004.

Challenging the Delhi High Court ruling, Bajaj contended in his petition that mere listing of a product for sale could not be termed as crime under the IT Act.

Bajaj in his petition also argued that the term “obscenity” is not defined in the IT Act and accordingly no liability can be fixed on him for listing the 2.37-minute video clip even if it was obscene.

On Bajaj’s petition, the bench issued notices to the Delhi government and Delhi Police, seeking their response to his contentions.

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