US ignores India’s request against Google, Facebook

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May 3, 2013

NEW DELHI: The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Friday told a Delhi court that the US authorities are unable to "execute" the request for assistance in serving summons to 11 US-based websites, including Facebook and Google, accused of promoting class enmity and undermining national integrity.

May 3, 2013

NEW DELHI: The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Friday told a Delhi court that the US authorities are unable to "execute" the request for assistance in serving summons to 11 US-based websites, including Facebook and Google, accused of promoting class enmity and undermining national integrity.

The MHA told metropolitan magistrate Jay Thareja that they have received a communication dated March 20, 2013 from the US department of justice according to which they cannot execute the request as it "implicates free speech principles" which are protected as per the US Constitution.

"Pursuant to the treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in criminal matters between the United States and India (the Treaty), we regret to inform you that we will not be able to execute this request for assistance…. as the request implicates free speech principles that are protected by the US Constitution and are considered essential interests," the letter received by the US authorities said.

The court on January 8 had issued fresh summonses against 11 US-based websites, which have been arrayed as an accused in the complaint filed by Vinay Rai and had directed the MHA to get the process served upon them.

The MHA placed before the court the communication received from the US authorities in this matter.

The US authorities, in its March 20 letter, have informed that, "as previously discussed, the first amendment to the US Constitution provides for broad freedom of expression and as a result prohibits criminal prosecution of speech except in narrowly defined circumstances."

"Upon review of the information available to us, the request implicates free speech principles that are protected by our Constitution and that are considered essential interests. Article 3 of the treaty allows for the denial of a request where its execution would prejudice essential interests," the US authorities said.

The court has now fixed the matter for further proceedings on May 21.


Courtesy: PTI

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