Govt asked to drop anti-Islamic video from Google

High Court of DelhiNEW DELHI: The Centre and the city police were today asked by the Delhi High Court to respond to a plea for direction to the government to ensure that Google India drop trailers of a controversial film, deemed offensive to Islam, from YouTube.

Issuing notice to the Centre and the ministries of Home Affairs, External Affairs, Minority Affairs, Corporate Affairs and Information and Broadcasting (I and B) along with the Delhi Police and Google India, a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought their response by January 23, 2013.

The court also asked the centre to inform it on the next date of hearing if any permanent solution could be found.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Maulana Mahmood Madani, general secretary of a religious body Jamiat Ulama-I- Hind (JUIH) seeking direction for complete removal of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ from various websites.

“Issue direction in the interest of public at large and in the nature of mandamus commanding the respondents to permanently and completely remove or block or ban with immediate effect the exhibition, transmission or broadcast of the film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ or any contents or parts or its video or clippings or trailers or their similar versions with different titles from internet website YouTube….,” the plea said.

Appearing for petitioner, senior advocate R S Suri argued that countries like Egypt, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan have already banned the Google and YouTube sites for their failure to check it.

“If government could not direct the search engine Google to remove the video “banning these sites may be the ultimate solution,” the counsel added.
Standing counsel for Delhi Police, Najmi Waziri, told the court that police can not remove the videos but taking suo moto cognizance, it had registered an FIR based on various complaints, and have written many times to the Centre about the issue.

“The police registered an FIR on September 14, 2012 related to uploading of numerous objectionable video clips on YouTube,” said Waziri while placing a copy of it before the court.

The FIR said “contents of these video clips are highly objectionable, malicious and intended to outrage religious feelings of a particular community by insulting its religious beliefs and these video clips may also lead to unrest and communal discord.”

“It is a matter of judicial evidence that alleged content has already erupted communal disharmony in many countries,” the FIR said.

Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rajiv Mehra told the court that “when complaint about this issue came to us, we acted upon that but it (video) has been re-surfed by people. But video can be permanently removed by Google Inc, parent company of Google India.”

“The government had blocked 157 URLs earlier,” the senior law officer said. URLs or uniform resource locater are addresses of websites. The court has now fixed January 23 for further hearing of the matter. -PTI

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