Published On : Mon, Dec 11th, 2017

HC issues notice to union govt, Google India, Russian websites

Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court
Nagpur: In a significant development Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench comprising of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Swapna Joshi issued notice to Union of India through its IT secretary, Director General of Computer Emergency Response Team of India, M/s Google India Pvt. Ltd., Executive Officer of www.consumercomplaints.in, Executive Officer of www.complaintboard.in, M/s Adya Business Solutions through its Director Anilkumar Singh, Chandrakant Prasad and Julie John on a writ petition filed by M/s Big V Telecom Private Ltd. a Nagpur Based software company in W.P. No:-7769/2017 in which various violations of IT Act 2000 and IT {IG} Rules 2011 have been alleged.

The petitioner has seriously contended that as per Rule {3} (i), (xi) of Information Technology, Intermediary Guidelines Rules framed u/s 87 {2} {zg} of I.T. Act 2000, it is necessary for every intermediary {website} to publish the “privacy rules” and “user agreements.” It is also necessary to appoint “Grievance Officer” and publish his name to resort various complaints of citizens.

The counsel for petitioner Adv Tushar Mandlekar argued that since the foreign websites have not done “statutory compliance” the action needs to be taken against them by Union Govt. of India as the issue is serious violation of provision s 67-C, 72-A, 79-(3) (b) inviting even criminal action.

The petitioner alleged that it’s a “registered company” dealing in supply of software programmes related to “telecom solutions” to various clients in India and therefore appointed franchisees in India. The franchisees have failed to achieve their respective agreed sales-targets and therefore have violated MOU and petitioner is eligible to get compensation. The franchisee owners Anilkumar and Juile John have posted certain objectionable, hateful, defamatory content against the petitioner company on two Russian websites namely www.consumercomplaint.in and www.complaintboard.in.

The petitioner alleged that these two websites are in fact creating confusion amongst citizens for propagating themselves as saviours of “consumer complaints” in India, defying the in-built legislative mechanism of “consumer forums” and receiving the “consumer related complaints” and have also created virtual parallel mechanism which is derogatory and harmful in nature and is against the “national interest”

The petitioner made various complaints to websites and M/s Google India Ltd and Union Government as mandated u/r 3 (4) of IT (IG Rules) 2011 with digital signature but no action has been taken to remove the objectionable and defamatory content. It was contended that immediately within 36 hours of receipt of the digitally signed complaint the intermediary must take action as contemplated u/r 3 (4) of IT IG Rules 2011.

The counsel for the petitioner also stated that section 75 of IT Act 2011 gives universal jurisdiction to the Indian Courts to hear the cases for violation or contravention of various provisions of IT Act 2000 even against foreign nationals. The “cyber incident” if reported also needs to be acted upon by “Computer Emergency Response Team” appointed by Union of India.

The High Court has issued notices to parties and directed the petitioner to serve them by e-mail and sought the reply on 18-01-2018. Adv Tushar Mandlekar assisted by Adv Mahindra Limaye and Adv Rohan Malviya argued the case for petitioner. Adv Ulhas Aurangabadkar, Assistant Solicitor General of India accepted the notice on behalf of Union of India.