Delhi: Google-owned website giant Youtube has been slapped a fine of Rs 9.5 lakh by the Delhi High court for its failure to remove an ‘offensive’ video against a Delhi-based female doctor from its platform. The video in question targeted the Delhi-based doctor and her IVF practices.
It is reported that in June 2015, a trial court had directed YouTube and its parent company, Google, to remove the said content (video) from its channel across the world. Youtube, then filed an appeal with the Delhi High Court.
Citing technological reasons, YouTube asked the court for an extension to comply with the decision. However, even after 9 hearings over the course of 64 days, the video was not removed, and finally, at the 9th hearing, Youtube communicated its inability to remove the said video due to “Technical reasons.”
“The case has been listed for nine times in the last 64-odd days. On each occasion, time was sought by the appellant (YouTube/Google) to comply with the directions of the court. Today, the court is informed that the directions cannot be complied with on account of technological reasons,” Justice Waziri responded.
During the hearing, Youtube showed its inability to remove the video stating that it had no technological control to ensure that posts are permanently removed from its main server and can’t be accessed even outside India.
It, however, argued that it had complied with Trial Court order since content had been disabled in India from its website and cannot be accessed by any person having access to the internet from India, reports TOI.
Business Insider reports that Court refused to accept these two actions as equivalents of one another.
Youtube then sought to withdraw the appeal from the high court and challenge the trial court decree.
Stating that he is “unable to see as to how the contents being posted on the platform of the appellant can govern or steer the functioning of the platform itself,” Honourable Justice Najmi Waziri reprimanded YouTube for wasting judicial time and directed it to pay Rs 50,000 for each of the nine hearings held in past two months.
The court allowed the company to withdraw its plea on two conditions:
- It won’t raise any of the arguments already addressed in the order
- The company will pay a cost of Rs 50,000 per hearing to the doctor who was at the receiving end of posts targeting her medical practice
Out of the total amount, HC directed that Rs 1 lakh should be paid to HC Mediation and Conciliation Centre as costs.