Google claims new IT rules not applicable to its search engine, HC seeks Centre’s stand
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Google claims new IT rules not applicable to its search engine, HC seeks Centre’s stand

New Delhi, Jun 2: US-based Google LLC has contended that India’s new IT rules for digital media are not applicable to its search engine, and urged the Delhi High Court on Wednesday to set aside its single judge order which applied them on the company while dealing with an issue related to removal of offending content from the internet.

The single judge’s decision had come while dealing with a matter in which a woman’s photographs were uploaded on a pornographic website by some miscreants and despite court orders the content could not be removed in entirety from the World Wide Web and “errant parties merrily continued” to re-post and redirect it to other sites.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh issued notice to the Centre, Delhi government, Internet Service Providers Association of India, Facebook, the pornographic site and the woman, on whose plea the single judge’s ruling had come, and sought their responses to Google’s plea by July 25.

The court said it was not going to issue any interim order at this stage after Google told the bench that it was an intermediary, but not a social media intermediary, and sought protection against any coercive action for non-compliance of the template or guidelines laid down by the single judge.

The global technology giant had also sought removal of the observation by the single judge that it was a social media intermediary.

Google contended that the single judge, in his April 20 judgement, “mischaracterised” its search engine as a ‘social media intermediary’ or ‘significant social media intermediary’ as provided under the new rules.

“The single judge has misinterpreted and misapplied the New Rules 2021 to the appellant’s search engine. Additionally, the single judge has conflated various sections of the IT Act and separate rules prescribed thereunder, and has passed template orders combining all such offences and provisions, which is bad in law,” it has said in its appeal against the April 20 judgement.

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