The Delhi high court on Thursday sought the Centre’s response on a plea questioning how children below the age of 18 years are allowed to open an account on social networking sites, including Facebook.
A file photo shows an illustration made with figurines set up in front of Facebook's homepage. AFP/Joel Sage
US-based entities Facebook Inc and Google Inc have also been asked to respond by May 13.
The issue was raised through a petition by former BJP ideologue KN Govindacharya. He pointed out that just before opening an account, websites requires one to sign a contract and “as per Indian law, a contract cannot be signed by anyone aged less than 18 years”.
He said that such a permission granted to a minor was against the Indian Majority Act, Indian contract Act and Information and Technology Act.
“How children below 18 years can have an agreement with any of the social network sites, including Facebook? The Union of India is directed to file an affidavit on the issue within 10 days. Both Facebook Inc and Google Inc are US-based entities and are hereby impleaded as respondents. Notices to be issued to the newly added parties,” a bench of justices BD Ahmed and Vibhu Bakhru said.
The petition also sought an order for recovery of taxes from the websites on their income from operations in India.
Due to non-verification of users, more than eight crore Facebook users across the world were found to be “fake”, which the website admitted before the US authority, Govindacharya’s counsel Veerag Gupta told the Bench.
The Government of India is not taking any action against the foreign companies which have their Indian operations, the counsel contended.