A Delhi Court has issued fresh summons to Facebook, Google and nine other foreign based social networking sites, for promoting class enmity and threatening national Integrity, reports PTI (via Business Standard). The report states that the court has directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to serve these summons to the respective companies and fixed the next hearing date for further proceedings as April 15, 2013.

This is the latest in the case in which Vinay Rai, a senior journalist and editor of Akbari, an Urdu weekly, filed the case against 21 websites in December 2010 and had claimed that content on the websites owned by the companies encouraged defamation, obscenity, and promotion of enmity among different religious and race groups.

In June 2012, the court had asked Ministry of Home Affairs to serve summons to executives of Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, YouTube, Orkut and Blogspot, asking them to appear in person or through their counsels on September 22nd 2012.

This was due to Google and Facebook’s argument that Google India and Facebook India were not responsible for any content on their platforms.  Google India had argued in the Delhi High Court that their Indian operations is just a subsidiary for sales, and have little or nothing to do with content and search results provided by the core business owned by Google Inc.

In response to this directive, a Home Affairs Ministry official had reportedly suggested the court to initiate extradition proceedings as per the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between USA and India, instead of serving summons to these executives.

The Delhi high court had however dismissed this suggestion and directed the official to help the complainant Vinay Rai’s counsel to file requisite forms as per the guidelines mentioned in the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), to issue summons to these companies, as indicated by the report.

According to a DailyBhaskar report, the Delhi court had summoned Amar Chand, the under secretary of Home Affairs Ministry, to verify these forms in October 2012, indicating that the complainant’s counsel had submitted these forms around the same time.


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