Sex MMS: SC admits eBay, its chief's plea

Sex MMS: SC admits eBay, its chief`s plea 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 (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 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.

Bureau Report