Acting on a plea, the Delhi High Court has issued notices to the central Government and Google India asking them to remove videos of the controversial anti-Islam film, ‘Innocence of Muslims’, from sites like YouTube. In fact, notices have been issued to the Commissioner of Police and the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Home, Corporate Affairs, External Affairs and Minority Affairs, by a division bench comprising Chief Justice D. Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.
Maulana Mahmood Asad Madani, General Secretary of the Jamiat Ulama-I-Hind (JUIH) filed a petition seeking the removal of the controversial clip from sites like YouTube. The Central Government has now been asked to offer a permanent solution to the issue. Meanwhile, the case has been adjourned to January 23.
Notices sent over objectionable content (Image credit: Getty Images)
Senior advocate RS Suri, appearing for the petitioner, cited the example of countries like Egypt, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan and said if the government could not direct the search engine to remove the video, “banning these sites may be the ultimate solution”.
The petition alleged that the film was made in the US and that anti-Islam groups supported the filmmaker. Delhi Police Counsel Najmi Waziri informed the court that the police were unable to remove the video. Then taking suo motu cognizance, they registered an FIR based on the several complaints. Waziri was quoted as saying, “The police registered an FIR related to uploading of numerous objectionable video clips on YouTube.”
In the FIR it had been stated that the contents of the video clips were “highly objectionable, malicious and intended to outrage religious feelings of the particular community by insulting its religious beliefs, and these video clips may also lead to unrest and communal discord. It is a matter of judicial evidence that alleged contempt has already erupted in communal disharmony in many countries.”
Interestingly, Additional Solicitor General Rajiv Mehra told the court that the government acted upon complaints that came to it, but the video was “re-surfed by people again.” He, however, affirmed that the video can be permanently removed by Google, which is the parent company of Google India.
Earlier this year, Plaintiff Mufti Aijaz Arshad Quasmi filed a complaint accusing websites like Google India, Exbii, IMC India, My Lot, Shyni Blog, Topix, Zombie Time and Boardreader of being party to objectionable content, be it in the form of text, videos and images, among other things. Quasmi was of the opinion that such instances were proving to be a deterrant to the nation's peace and sanity. In the course of several hearings, which have been taking place for months now, the court dropped the case against entities like Microsoft India, Yahoo! India, Google India, and seven others. The websites were accused under grievous charges of the IPC like Section 292 (sale of obscene books etc), Section 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person etc) and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy).