Video clippings allegedly featuring Senior Advocate and former Congress Spokesperson, Abhishek Manu Singhvi has quite literally been all over the internet. Although Singhvi was quick in securing an ex parte injunction from the Delhi High Court against three media houses who were in possession of the CD, by then the damage had already been done with the video going viral on the internet.
says, Apar Gupta, Partner at Advani & Co, a reputed law firm. He said in an interview given to Bar & Bench (http://www.barandbench.com), a legal matters related website that,
“… the Delhi High Court granted an interim injunction against the driver who captured and morphed the footage.., and some television news broadcasters ( Aaj Tak, Headlines Today and the India Today Group). The interim injunction was not a John Doe injunction and would not have been applicable against any other parties except the ones, which were named as defendants in the suit…”
Pranesh Prakash of Centre of Internet and Society, another legal expert in these matters opined that:
“…. sites such as YouTube are not broadcasting sites, rather they are being used to broadcast. This distinction, which is not important when it comes to television, is critical when it comes to user-uploaded content and user-generated content. Given that there are thousands of video-sharing websites, there is no way of ensuring that all of them comply with an Indian court order. “
Asked whether public figures have a right to privacy, Apar Gupta said:
“…If (in Singhvi’s case) privacy would have been claimed, Dr. Singhvi would have been in a unique catch-22 where to claim privacy he would have to admit the contents of the clip (if not the clip in its entirety) was correct. Hence, defamation is an easier ground where he can claim the clip was morphed and hence untrue….”
Can Abhishek Manu Singhvi file a case of defamation against the social media websites for posting the contents of the CD on their websites, Apar gupta says:
” ….Social media websites are only a platform. The case would be on firm legal footing if he gave notice to the social media websites as to the precise URL which contained the defamatory contents and they failed to act within 36 hours to take it down as per the Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011. I would also anticipate that if such a case was filed, social media websites would plead innocent dissemination as a defense.”
To the same question Pranesh Prakash says:
Again, I must clarify that social media websites have not posted the contents of the CD on their websites. Users of social media websites have done so.Should Mr. Singhvi be able to? The answer, I believe, should depend on whether the social media platforms were informed about the conduct of unlawful activity on their platforms and still chose not to remove it. The determination of unlawful activity should ideally be from a court. This, I believe is the correct interpretation of Section 79(3) of the IT Act, which deals with intermediary liability.
Read the full interview : Bar & Bench
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