iconimg Saturday, August 01, 2015

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, August 23, 2013
The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre to crack the whip on social networking sites including Facebook and Google to curb posting of pornography, illegal morphed photos and abuse of children online.
The court said centre had to ensure within two weeks that all social networking sites mandatorily followed the IT (intermediaries guidelines) 2011 as per which they are to appoint a grievance officer to whom any aggrieved person can file a complaint. The name and contact details of the officer who is to deal with the complaint within a month is to be displayed on the homepage of the website.

The court also made it clear that children below the age of 13 shall not be allowed accounts on social networking sites.

“You have to make them fall in line. These foreign companies were not taking steps to prevent misuse of the sites only because Indian government was not tough with them. They are also bound by the rule of law of this country”, a bench of acting chief justice BD Ahmed told centre’s counsel Sumeet Pushkarna.

Till now the companies, which had their servers in US did not entertain any complaints from India on grounds of jurisdiction whereas India did not enforce any law to contain such illegal activities.

In its defence, Google said it had a dedicated cell and also a team to deal with grievances round-the-clock but admitted it had not posted on the site the name of any officer.

The court direction came on a PIL filed by former BJP leader K Govindacharya which alleged that the websites had no mechanism for protection of children from online abuse and India also had no law on the lines of Children Online Privacy Protection Act of US. Petitioner’s lawyer Virag Gupta said permission granted to a minor to open an account in a social networking site was against Indian Majority Act, Indian Contract Act and Information and Technology Act.