The Bombay High Court's Aurangabad bench has served a notice on Google for allowing a hate campaign against India on its social-networking site orkut.com.
The order was issued on Monday in response to a public-interest petition filed by Yugant Marlapalle, an advocate in Aurangabad. Google has six weeks to respond. The petition said a community called ‘We Hate India’ — full of anti-India propaganda and with a picture of the Tricolour being burnt — has been created on Orkut. It sought the removal of the community from the site.
The ‘We Hate India’ group currently has 103 members, almost all of whom are from Pakistan. The site’s creator calls himself Miraslov Stankovic and claims he is based in Russia. His other Orkut communities include "Israel Must be Destroyed" and "I Hate Himesh Reshammiya".
Google’s India spokeswoman Roli Aggarwal said she was aware of the case but declined to comment, saying the response would have to come from the US where Orkut was based.
Supreme Court lawyer Pavan Duggal said Google would be treated as a network-service provider under Indian law. If the site could be viewed and used in India, the country had a legitimate interest in its contents, he said.
Orkut also has 10 communities called "We hate Pakistan", most of whose members are Indians. "It is part of the war between India and Pakistan in cyberspace," said cyber security analyst Subimal Bhattacharjee.
Orkut’s terms of service says it may, but shall have no obligation to, remove materials that it determines in its sole discretion are unlawful and objectionable.
(With inputs from Samrat in Mumbai)