Internet majors Google and Facebook have removed content from some Indian domain Web sites on Monday following a court order.

“This step is in accordance with Google's long standing policy of responding to court orders,” said a Google spokesperson.

This comes even as the Ministry of Communications and IT had asked all social networking companies to develop a mechanism to remove objectionable content. A private petitioner had also filed an appeal in a lower court over images that could hurt religious sentiments.

Agency adds: A lower court in New Delhi told 22 social networking companies on Monday to put in writing the steps they had taken to block offensive content, and submit reports to the court within 15 days. It fixed the next date of hearing for March 1.

The court in Rohini passed the order after the social networking Web sites asked for copies of CD's which contained objectionable content and had been filed by the petitioner.

Facebook India on Monday filed its compliance report before the court. Google India also told the court that it has removed certain Web pages from the Internet on which objections were raised by the petitioners

Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Microsoft have appealed in the Delhi High Court against the case. “If the companies have actually removed some content, they should put in place a mechanism to do it regularly, instead of waiting for a court case every time,” Mr Vinay Rai, the petitioner, told Reuters.

“Microsoft has filed an application for rejection of the suit on the grounds that it disclosed no cause of action against Microsoft,” a spokesperson for the company said. “The matter is sub-judice and no further comments can be given.”

Additional Civil Judge Mr Praveen Singh also posed a query to the counsel appearing for petitioner Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, as to whether the blog service - providing companies can be made a party to the case for any content posted by the users on the blogs.

The court also asked the petitioner to supply the copies of all the documents relied upon, to all the opposite parties. The court had on December 20, 2011, in a ex-parte order issued summons to 22 social networking websites asking them to remove “anti-religious” or “anti-social” content in the form of photographs, videos or text which might hurt religious sentiments. It had on December 24, 2011 set February 6, 2012 as the deadline for the Web sites for the same.

tkt@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 6, 2012)
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