The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre and social media platforms to ensure that all appropriate and necessary steps are taken to prevent the sharing of a sexually explicit video of a Judicial officer, which was being circulated on the internet since November 29, 2022.

The bench of Justice Yashwant Varma while disposing of the application, allowed the ad interim ex-parte injunction and observed that "Bearing in mind the sexually explicit nature of the contents of that video and taking into consideration the imminent, grave and irreparable harm that is likely to be caused to the privacy rights of the plaintiff an ad interim ex parte injunction is clearly warranted."

The order was passed in the suit which was filed seeking issuance of a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants from publishing, re-publishing, or telecasting the purported video, which was stated to be circulating on various social media platforms as well as web portals. Moreover, the Court conducted the hearing on camera and also allowed the prayer of the plaintiff of masking his identity as irreparable harm would be caused to the plaintiff.

Advocates Ashish Dixit, Amit Sharma and Vandana Sharma appeared on behalf of the plaintiff and none appeared for the defendant.

The Court after considering the content with respect to which the complaint was made observed that prima facie, the provisions of Section 354C of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as 67A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000 would appear to be violated in case further circulation, sharing and distribution of the video were to be permitted.

"The content, if circulated amongst parties and users of the services provided by the defendant Nos. 1 to 4, would also appear to, prima facie, violate the Legally Acceptable Terms of Use as adopted by the said defendants," said the Court.

The Court additionally noted that the Full Court had taken the congnizance of the incident on its administrative side and a resolution was also passed on November 29, 2022, wherein the Registrar General of the Court conveyed to the Centre the need to take appropriate action for blocking of the said video over "all ISPs, messaging platforms as also social media platforms."

The Court further directed that "the defendants shall take all permissible steps to ensure that the further sharing, distribution, forwarding or posting of the offending video is restrained forthwith. The defendant No.5 will also ensure that all further steps as are warranted in terms of the communication of the Registrar General dated 29 November 2022 are taken and a compliance report submitted in these proceedings."

Accordingly, the Application was disposed of and December 9, 2022 is fixed for further hearing.

Cause Title- AX v. Google LLC & Ors.

Click here to read/download the Order