New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday admitted
petitions of auction portal eBay India Pvt Ltd and its chief
Avinash Bajaj seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings
initiated against them for allegedly permitting the sale of an
MMS clip showing two school students in Delhi in a sexual act.
A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir admitted both the
pleas and tagged them with another similar issue pending
before a larger Bench.
The Bench had earlier issued notice to the Delhi
government and had stayed the proceedings against the auction
portal and Bajaj under Sections 67 and 85 of the Information
Technology Act 2000.
While Section 67 bans publishing obscene information in
electronic form, Section 85 allows the prosecution of a person
responsible for violation.
Bajaj, the then managing director of baazee.com (now Ebay
India Pvt Ltd), was arraigned for allegedly allowing the MMS
clip, recorded on a mobile phone camera, to be uploaded on the
company's auction site in 2004. Bajaj, a US citizen, had
subsequently sold baazee.com to eBay in 2004.
However, the state government had said that Bajaj was
responsible for the illegal display of the clip both in
official as well as in his personal capacity.
Challenging the Delhi High Court judgment that quashed
proceedings under the India Penal Code on May 29, last year
but permitted prosecution under the Information Technology
Act, Bajaj said that mere listing (on the web site) could not
be construed as a crime under the act.
Bajaj in his petition stated that Section 67 of the Act
does not define the term obscenity and thus liability cannot
be fixed on him for merely listing of the 2.37-minute clip
video clip even if it was obscene.
First Published: Friday, August 07, 2009, 22:48