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Hearing in case against websites deferred till May 23

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 23:43

New Delhi: The hearing of a complaint against various social networking websites for their prosecution for allegedly promoting class enmity and undermining national integrity was deferred today by a Delhi court till May 23.
Metropolitan Magistrate Surabhi Sharma Vats adjourned the hearing for May 23 as the counsel appearing for websites and complainant Vinay Rai said summons have not been served to various websites, named as accused.

The court also allowed the pleas for exemption, made by Facebook India and Orkut, also an accused in the case.

During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Yahoo said the proceedings against them have been quashed by the Delhi High Court.

Advocate Satish Tamta, appearing for Microsoft, said the US-based firm has also approached the Delhi High Court for quashing of the criminal proceedings against them.

Rai`s counsel S P M Tripathi told the court that summons have not been served to various foreign-based websites, who have been named as an accused in the case.

During the hearing, counsel for Ministry of Communication and Information Technology and Ministry of Law and Justice also appeared in the court.

The Centre had earlier told the court that there were sufficient material to proceed against the social networking sites, including Facebook, Google and Microsoft for the alleged offences.

The two-page report was placed after the court directed Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) to get the summons served to over 10 foreign-based companies. The summons were issued on December 23 last but they remained unserved.

The court had on December 23 issued summons to the social networking websites for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and sale of obscene objects to young persons.

It had said prima facie the accused companies were liable to be summoned for promoting class enmity, causing prejudice to national integration and insulting religion or religious belief of any class but it could not summon them without having prior sanction of the Central or state government or the district magistrate.

The Department of Information Technology, in its report, had said the contents were provocative and were prejudicial to national integration.

The court had also issued directions to the MEA after the counsel appearing for Facebook India said over 10 out of the 21 companies were foreign based and the court would have to issue process to serve summons to them.

The magistrate had directed the MEA to get the summons served and had directed the accused to appear in person during today`s hearing.


First Published: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 23:42

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