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HC notice to Google, Facebook on church defamation plea

The Delhi high court  on Tuesday sought the replies of various social networking sites, including Google and Facebook, to a plea for removal of ‘defamatory and derogatory’ articles against a church and an NGO from their sites.

Issuing notice to Google India, its subsidiaries – YouTube, Blogger, Blogspot.in – and also Facebook, Justice Valmiki Mehta sought their replies by 7 January, next year.

The court issued the notice on a joint plea of Gospel for Asia (a city-based NGO) and Believers Church, which alleged that ‘there are several malicious contents with intent to defame and destroy the reputation of entire organisation (church).

‘Certain persons with vested interest are continuously trying to malign the reputation of the organisation by uploading defamatory contents on internet.

‘The Google and other intermediaries are liable to restrict these contents as per Section 79 (3)(a) of the Information Technology Act since,’ said the complaint filed through counsel Deepak Prakash.

The civil suit also cited the statements of former presidents A P J Abdul Kalam and Pratibha Devi Singh Patil appreciating the work of the organisation and claimed that ‘different government agencies verified and appreciated the work of the organisation on different occasions and stated that there is no negative remark about them from any corner.’

The plea claimed that the organisation is serving in more than 13 countries with its charity missions reaching lakhs of poor and downtrodden people and improving their standard of living which also means to earn a good life.

‘It is carrying out welfare and development activities all over India. It implements projects especially in remote and rural areas and city slums, by its nation building project and providing adequate possibilities to down-trodden and needy to become healthy, productive and functional citizen of this country irrespective of caste, creed and gender,’ the plea stated.
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