Delhi high court refuses to stay criminal proceedings against Google, Facebook


12 Jan 2012
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Delhi high court refuses to stay criminal proceedings against Google, Facebook

The Delhi HC on Thursday declined to stay proceedings against Facebook and Google in a case of 'objectionable' content being posted online.

The Court also declined plea of the counsel for the State of Delhi and Delhi Police who was insisting that Google India MD Rajan Anandan and Facebook India Director Online operations Kirthiga Reddy appear in person and seek exemption from the lower court.

"What is this insistence that they should appear in person?" Justice Suresh Cait asked the counsel for Delhi Police, Naveen Sharma.

"To force a party to go and attend criminal proceedings will amount to injustice," Google India's lawyer NK Kaul said in a heated argument, before the High Court.

The Court directed that lawyers of Facebook and Google can appear on behalf of their authorized representatives in the lower court, against whom summons have been issued. The trial will now take place starting March 13 in the lower court.

The HC also reserved its order citing pending cases which may have bearing on the 'objectionable' content case. "A special leave petition related to the Avnish Bajaj case which has a bearing on this case, and another pending court case of Google India versus Visakha Industries are pending in the Supreme Court. Till then, we will reserve our order," Justice Suresh Cait said. Ironically, the cases were cited by prosecution during its argument on Thursday.

Google and Facebook had last month moved an application in the High Court seeking quashing of summons and proceedings underway in a lower trial court. "Quashing of an FIR has to be done sparingly, where no cognizable offence can be cited," Delhi Police Counsel Naveen Sharma argued before the High Court, citing various orders of the Supreme Court.

Google and Facebook will have to appear in a lower court on March 13, along with Yahoo and Microsoft, who have been made a party in this case. The High Court has already denied to stay criminal proceedings against Yahoo India in a separate plea filed by them.

The criminal case pending in the lower court, is filed by Vinay Rai, editor of Akbari, who is asking for a mechanism by internet companies to check online content. The internet companies will now have to present their arguments in the lower court starting March 13, 2012.

Source : TOI
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