Suit against websites: No relief to Facebook India
Facebook India's plea for dropping its name from a suit for action against social networking websites for hosting alleged objectionable content was on Wednesday dismissed by a Delhi court which held it cannot be said that the company has no say in running the site facebook.com.
Administrative Civil Judge Parveen Singh dismissed the company's plea for deletion of its name, rejecting its contention that Facebook India does not run the website.
"At this stage, it cannot be said that Facebook India has no say in running of website and there might be a probability that Facebook India provides technical support and programming and developing of the website and also tests the new software for the same and thus, can have some say in how this website runs in India," the court said.
"It also might be possible that Facebook India is raising revenue for facebook.com by seeking advertisers from India for facebook.com," the court said, adding that the company's name cannot be deleted at this stage.
Facebook India had argued that it is not responsible for the contents appearing on website facebook.com and that it does not control or operate the servers that host the website, which are located in the United States.
On Facebook India's argument that it is a mere software developer and has nothing to do with the website, the court noted that the counsel for the company had failed to explain the relationship between Facebook India and Facebook Inc (which runs the website facebook.com).
"The counsel (for FB India) had failed to put forward any answer detailing the relationship of these two entities," the judge said and noted that the counsel had failed to convince the court that FB India does not provide technical support, programming and online support services for facebook.com.
The court also noted that the company's Memorandum of Association shows that its object is to carry on the business in India and abroad for online support services, online solution and to promote and market the product and technology and provide technical support and services.
The court also rejected FB India's contention of parity with Google India and Youtube India, which were dropped from the suit after plaintiff Mufti Aijaz Arshad Quasmi's counsel Santosh Pandey gave his no objection to the same.
The civil suit was filed by one Mufti Aijaz against Facebook India, Yahoo, Google and other wesbites objecting to certain contents on their portals which, he alleged, had hurt the religious sentiments of various communities.
The matter has now been fixed for June 4 for framing of issues.