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Content screening: Facebook, others to reply in 15 days

A Delhi court here Monday directed Facebook, Yahoo, Google and other websites to file written statements within 15 days on removing objectionable content from their sites after the Google informed it that it has removed some pages.

Administrative Civil Judge Praveen Singh warned the social networking sites against displaying objectionable content on their web pages.

The court said the websites had a duty to follow its order to remove defamatory articles.

"Defendants must file a written statement within 15 days," said the court and listed the matter for March 1.

The court was hearing a petition moved by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Quasmi, an Islamic researcher running NGO Peace Foundation, who sought removal of objectionable content from websites.

Google submitted a compliance report in court, saying that it had removed certain defamatory pages from its sites.

"The step is in accordance with Google's long standing policy of responding to the court's order," Google's spokesperson told IANS.

Facebook India submitted an affidavit of compliance report, saying that the alleged content had not been downloaded from its sites.

"The images and videos do not contain any URL (uniform resource locator) to indicate that the source of the downloaded material is Facebook.com," said Facebook India in its report.

It added that Facebook India did not control or operate the servers that host the websites available at facebook.com, which are located in the US.

The company moved an application for seeking deletion of its name from the list of parties in the present suit.

Microsoft and Yahoo India also told court that there was no cause of action against them in the matter. Yahoo India moved an application for striking out its name from the case.

"It is humbly submitted that the plaintiff discloses no cause of action against the defendant (Yahoo) in as much as the plaintiff has nowhere averred that any such alleged offensive material was present or hosted by the defendant nor annexed any documents to show that any offensive material was present on the websites," Yahoo said in its application.

Appearing for Qasim, advocate Santosh Pandey supplied documents to the six companies after the court's direction.

Qasim alleged that around 20 websites were showing defamatory articles. He requested the court to take action against them and direct them to remove the objectionable contents.

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