Flipkart is going to face a legal trouble for weapons being allegedly sold on its marketplace. According to various media reports, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis has confirmed that the weapon used in Aurangabad riots in May brought through Flipkart. Also, a case has been registered against the e-commerce company. It is important to note that Flipkart is a marketplace where third-party sellers can list their products for sale.
According to this Hindustan Times report, Aurangabad police had seized 28 weapons like swords, choppers, knives, kukris, guptis, etc, which were purchased from Flipkart. The weapons were bought online and were delivered from Amritsar through courier company called Estacort Services Pvt Ltd.
According to Arms Act 1959, possession and sale of illegal arms is a cognisable offence. ‘Arms’ means articles of any description designed or adapted as weapons for offences, or defence, and includes firearms, sharp-edged and other deadly weapons, and parts of, and machinery for manufacturing arms, but does not include articles designed solely for domestic or agricultural uses such as a lathi or an ordinary walking stick and weapons incapable of being used otherwise than as toys or of being converted into serviceable weapons;
A mail sent to Flipkart for a statement on the same did not elicit any response at the time of publishing this post. We will update the post as soon as we hear back from them.
Oṇline weapons online and Intermediary Liability
Early this year 12 persons were reportedly jailed in Hyderabad for buying swords and daggers from Snapdeal and posting pics of weapons on social media. The task force also recommended action against Snapdeal.
Section 79 of the Information Technology Act offers safe harbour to intermediaries, provided they address complaints received and do not knowingly allow the usage of their platform to break the law. However, as we have pointed out several times earlier there is a need for better understanding of the responsibility, accountability and liability of platforms, marketplaces and aggregators. There’s no doubt that online aggregators and marketplaces are good for consumers and competition. But then who is accountable, when things get messed up? And what about the liability of these platforms?