Court rejects plea against Microsoft, fines petitioner
NEW DELHI: Taking exception to the clubbing of Microsoft India with other social networking websites in a suit for action against them for allegedly hosting offensive contents, a Delhi court today dropped the software giant's name out of the suit calling it an "odd man out".
The court also imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 on plaintiff Mufti Aijas Arshad Quasmi for impleading Microsoft as a party without disclosing any cause of action against it.
"I am unable to understand how could Microsoft India Pvt Ltd be included in a bracket which lists social networking websites. It is a company engaged in development and sale of softwares and computing solutions etc.
"It is not a website which provides a platform to the people where they can interact with each other and post or publish their views on various issues or subjects," Administrative Civil Judge Parveen Singh said.
"Thus, in fact, Microsoft India is an odd man out in the array of parties. Its working and functioning is entirely different and unrelated to all other defendants," he added.
The ACJ imposed the cost on the plaintiff and asked it to pay the same to Microsoft for making it a party in the suit without verifying if it is engaged in running a social networking site or providing a platform to the general public to express and post their views.
"I am of the view that the plaintiff has not acted responsibly in making Microsoft a party and put it to expenses by virtue of his act of implaeding it as a party without disclosing any cause of action against it. The plaintiff needs to compensate Microsoft for the cost incurred by it. The plaintiff is burdened with a cost of Rs 5,000 to be paid to Microsoft," he said.
The court noted that the suit talked about social networking, their contents and the resulting effect thereof, which showed that "the grievance of the plaintiff is against the sites which allow people to freely interact with each other, through world wide web and publish their views upon various subjects / issues, some of which plaintiff finds obnoxious and inflammatory per se."
It held that the plaint failed to disclose any cause of action against Microsoft and none of the documents (relied upon) had been downloaded from or stated to have been available on the Microsoft's website.
"Merely by arraying a party as a defendant in the memo of the parties, the plaintiff cannot claim that he has any cause of action against the party unless the same is disclosed in the body of the plaint," the ACJ said.
Earlier in the day, Microsoft's counsel argued that the company was not named anywhere in the complaint and the plaint against it is liable to dismissed.
Meanwhile, Yahoo had also pleaded with the court to remove its name from the plaint saying no cause of action was made out against it.
After hearing the arguments advanced by Yahoo, the court put it for order on March 5. Yahoo was earlier imposed a cost of Rs 2,000 for delay in appearing before the court.
The court's order has come amid a raging controversy over monitoring the internet content, which arose after Union Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal had asked the social networking websites to "screen" the contents.
The websites which are the parties to the suit initiated by Quasmi for hosting alleged objectionable content include Facebook India, Google India Pvt Ltd, Google Orkut, Youtube, Blogspot, Zombie Time, Exboii, Boardreader, IMC India, My Lot, Shyni Blog and Topix.
-Times Of India