Through 2011 and 2012, the Indian courts and politics have kept the lawyers of popular tech companies like Facebook, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft pretty busy. As it turns out, the beginning of 2013 is no different. A quick recap of things so far:
- Indian govt. piggy backs on religion to censor the web
- After Facebook and Google respond, IT minister backtracks on pre-screening content
- Twitter-savvy politician Shashi Tharoor weighs in on India's threat to ban social networks
- The current Indian law and loophole on user-generated content
- Yahoo and Microsoft not under scrutiny for social media censoring
- Case against social web companies streamlined
The new rounds of summons is part of the ongoing case since 2011 and was issued based on comments by Facebook India's counsel. According to the report by Business Today, Facebook India argued that the companies listed in the initial complaint are based out of India and as such they should be sent notices. He further pointed out that Facebook's chairman (Mark Zuckerberg), one of the accused, lives in California and should be summoned through official channels.
Google India's defense made the same argument stating that the summons against Orkut, Google & YouTube were mistakenly served at their premises.
The complaintant's lawyer said that he would ask the Ministry of External Affairs to delvier the summons. Based on this the court directed the accused to present themselves in person in March. Not surprisingly, the whole matter is a quite complicated. The defense wanted the hearings in the Delhi Court to be adjourned since the matter is also being heard in the High Court.
Curbing social media websites is being seriously discussed by politicians and bureaucrats for several reasons. India is a diverse country and given the vote-bank politics in the country and social media's ability to connect with the world, it can be dangerous. The particular case against the several tech companies will continue in several courts and will be of little concern if the government passes laws to curb the websites.
The companies have been accused of some serious charges such as undermining national integrity and promoting class enmity.