An intense international debate is on relating to merits of global blocking of offensive and defamatory content including any URLs/web links/videos uploaded from global domains by online platforms such as Facebook Inc., Google Inc., YouTube LLC, Google Plus, Twitter etc. (the “Online Platforms”). This interesting issue was recently considered in detail by the Hon’ble Delhi High Court in the matter of Swami Ramdev and Anr. vs. Facebook, Inc. and Ors. [CS(OS) 27/2019].
Facts of the Case: The petitioner Swami Ramdev approached the Delhi High Court to inter alia seek a permanent and mandatory injunction against the Online Platforms for disseminating various defamatory remarks and information including videos, based on a book titled “Godman to Tycoon – The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev”. Though an interim order was granted by the Delhi High Court on January 24, 2019, directing removal of the offending URL and weblinks for the Indian domain, the question whether the said content was to be blocked globally was deferred for determination. The Court thereafter separately considered “what would constitute removal or disabling access within the meaning of section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (“IT Act”)? And can removal or disabling access be geographically limited or should it be global?”.