In a rather quick turn of events, a Delhi Court dropped the name of software giant, Microsoft India from the list of accused in the ongoing objectionable content lawsuit, citing it as an exception. A quick recap into the lawsuit would take us to the complaint filed by the petitioner Mufti Aijas Arshad Qasmi against some 21 social networking sites in the country accusing them of hosting objectionable content on their sites, thereby putting the peace and sanity in the nation into trouble. The court, then was quick enough to send notices to the representatives of each of these sites, and the list included, Microsoft India, too. During a court hearing yesterday at Delhi, Administrative Civil Judge, Parveen Singh pointed out that unlike the others convicted in this case, Microsoft India stands as an odd-man out, since it is not a social networking website, to begin with.
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The judge added, “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.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.” The court in its ruling, yesterday not only dropped Microsoft India from the list of accused in the objectionable content lawsuit, but also order Qasmi to pay a fine of Rs.5,000 to Microsoft India for having involved it in the lawsuit “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.“
The judge, while issuing an order cleared that in order to claim in court that a certain website has been party to objectionable content, the plaintiff must have sufficient proof. He stated, “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.“
In one of our earlier reports covering the objectionable content lawsuit, we had stated that one of the accused in the case, Yahoo! India, too had a similar plea, which the court rejected. Yahoo! India told the court that unlike the others accused in the case, they were not a social networking site and hence, the allegations levelled against it hold no water.
According to one of our earlier reports, the websites, whom the court issued notices to, included, Facebook India, Google India Pvt Ltd, Google Orkut, Youtube, Blogspot, Zombie Time, Exboii, Boardreader, IMC India, My Lot, Shyni Blog and Topix.
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