A senior Union Home Ministry official has suggested that a Delhi court begin extradition proceedings “to secure the presence” of some US-based websites, including Facebook and Google. The websites have been accused of promoting class enmity, and undermining national integrity.

The Home Ministry's Under Secretary Amar Chand referred to the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLat) between the US and India. He added that instead of issuing summonses against these websites, the court should initiate extradition proceedings. However, Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja declined to initiate extradition proceedings against officials of these websites, and asked the official to assist complainant Vinay Rai's counsel in filling out the forms for service of summonses as prescribed under the MLat.

& the trial continues ... (Image credit: Getty Images)

Facebook, Google summoned (Image credit: Getty Images)

The court said further, “In the present case, all the accused are corporations/juristic personalities. It is appropriate that they be served by way of summonses. Therefore, advocate for the complainant has been directed to complete/fill the forms supplied by Amar Chand in response to the summonses sent on June 12, 2012. Amar Chand has agreed to assist the advocate for the complainant in filing the forms”.

The court had asked Amar Chand to “appear and explain the process of service of summonses” pertaining to the case filed against 21 social networking websites for having allegedly uploaded objectionable content. 

The ministry had been asked by the court on June 8 to get the summonses served to various US-based websites who have been accused in the complaint.

The ongoing lawsuit had initially begun as a full-blown lawsuit accusing 22-odd firms operating in the country. Plaintiff Mufti Aijaz Arshad Quasmi had filed a complaint back then accusing the websites operated by these firms to have been party to objectionable content, in the form of text, videos, images, among other things. Quasmi was of the opinion that such instances were proving to be deterrants to the nation's peace and sanity. The course of several hearings that have been taking place for months now saw the court dropping the case against companies such as Microsoft India, Yahoo! India, and now, Google India, along with 7 others. In one of our earlier reports, detailing the nature of the lawsuit, we had stated that the websites were accused under grievous charges of the IPC, like section 292 (sale of obscene books etc), 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person etc) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).

The websites named in the complaint include Facebook, Orkut, YouTube, Yahoo, Blogspot, Google and Microsoft.

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