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Social networking sites: Home ministry official summoned

October 26, 2012 16:51 IST

A Union home ministry official was on Friday asked by a Delhi court to appear before it to verify the forms for serving summonses to US-based websites Facebook and Google among others, accused of promoting class enmity and undermining national integrity.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja asked Union home ministry's Under Secretary Amar Chand to appear before him on November 19 after the forms, required to be filled under the treaty between India and the USA, were submitted to the court by complainant Vinay Rai's advocate.

Rai's advocate Shashi Tripathi submitted the forms to the court in accordance with its earlier order.

"The assistance of Amar Chand (MHA official) is required to verify the acceptability of the said forms. Let Amar Chand be summoned for November 19," the court said.

The court was earlier informed by the complainant's counsel that the process of service of summonses is being done in accordance with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between the two countries.

Amar Chand had earlier suggested to the court to start extradition proceedings to secure the presence of the US-based websites and had referred to the MLAT between the US and India saying that instead of issuing summonses against them, it should initiate extradition proceedings.

The court, however, had said that it would not initiate the extradition proceedings against the websites and had asked the official to assist the complainant's counsel in filling the forms for service of summonses.

The court earlier on June 8 had directed the MHA to get the summonses served to various US-based websites which have been arraigned as accused in the complaint filed against 21 social networking websites for allegedly committing the offences of also selling obscene materials to youths and hatching criminal conspiracy.

The websites named in the complaint include Facebook, Orkut, YouTube, Yahoo, Blogspot, Google and Microsoft.

The court had also given a Union law ministry's circular, dealing with the service of process in foreign countries, to Rai's counsel.

The Centre had earlier told the court that there was sufficient material to proceed against the websites for the alleged offences.

The court had on December 23 last year issued summons to 21 social networking websites on the complaint.

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