Google India has been dropped from the web censorship case along with seven other companies including Exbii, IMC India, My Lot, Shyni Blog, Topix, Zombie Time and Boardreader, by the Delhi Court, reports The Economic Times. The report states that Google India’s name was dropped following the company’s plea that it is just a subsidiary of Google Inc and does not operate a social networking website in the country, which was agreed upon by the Delhi Court.
A similar IBNLive report also suggests that Delhi Court has dropped Youtube, Blogspot and Orkut, which were represented under Google India MD Rajan Anandan noting them as ‘non-entities’, while the same companies represented through Google Inc CEO Larry Page will continue to remain in the case.
In December 2011, Delhi-based journalist and editor of an Urdu weekly Akbari, Vinay Rai had filed a lawsuit against 21 companies including Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, “Exboii” (sic), Shyni Blog, Topix, and others, complaining that these companies hosted objectionable and inflammatory content. A week later, Judge Sudesh Kumar had issued a summons order noting that there is enough prima facie evidence to proceed with trial against the intermediaries named and their senior officials. He had noted that instead of regulating the undesirable and offensive content, these companies had promoted the same for increasing their profits and promoting their business.
Last month, Delhi court had dropped cases against Microsoft India after Microsoft’s counsel had stated to the court that the company dealt only with computer software and there was no defamatory material posted on its web sites since it was not a social networking platform. Later, Delhi High Court had also dropped the cases against Yahoo India.
And with today’s announcement, only six companies of the 21 initial accused remain including Facebook (US and India), Google Inc, Orkut, YouTube and Blogspot (through Google Inc CEO Larry Page) on whom the court case will continue.
Our Take (Nikhil adds)
Google India has argued in the past that it is merely a sales company and does not own and operate YouTube, Blogger and other Google Inc sites. While this may work from a legal perspective, and in this case, it appears to have worked since Google India has been dropped from the lawsuit, the logical conclusion is that Google Inc then should either be in court defending its business in India, and be compliant with Indian law, or it should not be allowed to operate in the country.
– Web Censorship Case: Original Complaint Filed By Vinay Rai Against Facebook India & Others
– Web Censorship Case: Summons Order Served To Facebook & Others
– Updated: Facebook And Google Respond To Indian Government’s Request to Pre-Screen User Content
– When It Comes To The Internet, The Indian Government Needs A Reality Check