Allahabad HC quashes FIR against Flipkart, holds that U/Sec 79 of IT Act 2000, it is exempted from any liability

The Allahabad High Court while quashing an FIR lodged against Flipkart, observed that the company is exempted from any liability under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000, no violation can ever be attributed or made out against an  intermediary, as the same would only be vicarious, and such proceedings as initiated against them would be unjust and bad in law.

Background: An FIR was registered against Flipkart and its officials under Sections 406, 420, 467, 468, 471, 474, and 474-A IPC after a practising lawyer filed an application under Section 156(3) CrPC before the concerned Magistrate and the Magistrate ordered for registration of an FIR.

In this case, the respondent alleged that he had ordered a laptop from Flipkart, but it was having processor of brand ‘A.M.D’ instead of brand ‘Intel’and thus the delivery of the product was not as per the specifications for which order was placed. He registered a complaint with Flipkart regarding the alleged discrepancy of the product. The complaint was taken up by Flipkart as per their Dispute Redressal Policy, with the seller, but he declined to replace or refund the consideration of the product, stating that the product was dispatched as per specifications purchased by the respondent. Thereafter, the respondent lodged a complaint against Flipkart.

Flipkart raised a challenge to the impugned FIR seeking its quashing, inter alia, on the ground that it is an e-commerce platform that provides access to buyers and sellers through their website, where they meet and interact to execute purchase and sale transactions, subject to terms and condition as set out in the buyers/sellers terms of use (‘Flipkart Terms of Use’), and Flipkart is not a party to or in control of any such transaction between its users. Thus, claimed protection under Section 79 I.T. Act, 2000.

The Court observed that Section 79 is a safe harbour provision. Further, internet intermediaries give access to host, disseminate and index content, sell-buy products and services originated by third parties on the internet, that includes e-commerce intermediaries where the platforms do not take title of the goods being sold. Moreover, as per Section 81 of IT Act, 2000, Section 79 has an overriding effect.

Consequently, the Plea was allowed and the impugned FIR and the consequent police report was set aside and quashed.

PIL in Allahabad High Court seeking stay on release of the film Adipurush

The Petition states that the teaser or promo of the film is so atrocious, wicked, and diabolical that it, along with the subsequent movie, which is scheduled to be released on 12 January 2023, should be outright banned in its current form in the interest of Hindu religious feelings, sentiments, and aspirations.

Read more about it here

Twitter argues before Karnataka HC in challenge to blocking orders

The High Court is hearing the social media company’s plea challenging the government orders to block 39 tweets and accounts from its platform between February 2021 and February 2022.

Justice Krishna S Dixit on behalf of the social media company argued that orders under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, can only be issued if it is in line with the six grounds mentioned in the law.

At the last hearing on September 26, 2022 the High Court had sought comparative analysis of how other countries have dealt with similar problems raised by the social media company.

On Monday, Senior Advocate Arvind Datar, who appeared for Twitter, filed a comparative study on four jurisdictions – the United States of America, the United Kingdom, the European Union and Australia.

Senior Advocate Ashok Haranahalli, also appearing for Twitter, argued that the practice of not issuing notice to the users violates the rights of the intermediary.

He argued that the rights of the users under Article 19 (right to freedom of speech and expression) were infringed by blocking their accounts without notice and that they should be informed why their accounts were restricted.

Further, he submitted that the entire account should not be blocked and only the specific offending information ought to be the subject of blocking orders.

Supreme Court issues notice in a plea seeking directions to preserve the copyright over live streaming of Court hearings

The petitioner’s counsel contented out that the copyright of live-streaming of Court hearings should be retained by the Court and could not be surrendered to private platforms such as YouTube. The applicaiton further sought prevention of usage of live-stream footage for commercial purposes.

The petition sought that the live-streaming should be done strictly in accordance with the judgement in Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC) &Ors. v. Secretary General &Ors., (2018).

Delhi HC restrains 23 “rogue websites” from streaming Akshay Kumar-starrer Ram Setu

The Delhi high court has restrained 23 “rogue websites” from distributing, hosting, streaming, retransmitting, exhibiting and downloading of the upcoming movie Ram Setu, saying that piracy has to be curbed and needs to be dealt with a heavy hand.

The producer had listed 23 video sharing websites that are known to offer visitors download links to movies and web series.

The Court said “Looking at the investments made by the plaintiff in the production and promotion of the film as also the exclusive right vested in it under the provisions of the Act, this court prima facie agrees with the plaintiff that if the rogue websites communicate the film in any manner, on any platform, simultaneously with the theatrical release of the film on October 25 or in its close proximity thereafter, it would severely impact the interest of the plaintiff monetarily and will also erode the value of the film.”

Kantara movie: Complaint filed against actor Chetan for hurting religious sentiments

Karnataka Police has registered an FIR against Kannada actor Chetan for allegedly hurting religious sentiments.

The Seshadripuram police registered an FIR against Chetan on the basis of a complaint against him alleging that he made “derogatory” statements while commenting on the tradition of ‘Bhoota Kola’ depicted in the Kannada movie ‘Kantara’.

On the complaint by a person named Shivakumar, the police have registered FIR Chetan under Section 505(2) of IPC.

Read more about it here.

Sadar Bazar trader to pay INR 5 Lakh To Aero Group for selling counterfeit Woodland products

The Delhi High Court permanently restrained a trader in Sardar Bazar from manufacturing and selling counterfeit products under the brandname Woodland products and directed it to pay Aeroclub (parent company) INR 5 Lakh within three months.

Read more about it here.

SC refuses urgent hearing of plea against release of Ajay Devgn’s ‘Thank God’

The Supreme Court on October 19, 2022 refused an urgent hearing of a petition against the release of Ajay Devgn-starrer ‘Thank God’, scheduled to be released on October 25. The court fixed the case for November 21.

The present petition was filed by Shri Chitragupta Welfare Trust seeking directions for removal of the trailers and posters of the said movie from YouTube and other electronic platforms and restraining its release in theatres or on the OTT platforms.

Ninety Nine V Ninety One Bicycles- Delhi High Court restrains manufacturing of Ninety Nine Bicycles for being deceptively similar to Ninety One Bicycles.

The Court held that the competing marks can easily be confused and the same can indicate a form of affiliation or sponsorship. Observing that bicylces are bought by a large swath of population which could also include semi-illiterate persons, consumers may be deceived to believe that both bicycles originate from the same manufacturer and the marks NINETY NINE/99 and NINETY ONE/91are series marks.

Read more about it here.

E-Gaming Federation to challenge Tamil Nadu ordinance banning online gaming.

As per Economic Times, the E-gaming Federation (EGF) is set to challenge the recent ordinance issued by the Tamil Nadu government to ban online gaming by categorising rummy and poker as games of chance.

An EGF statement said that rummy and poker  has been regarded predominantly as a game of skill by the Supreme Court and held to be protected under Article 19(1)(g) of the Indian Constitution. Bringing rummy under the ambit of games of chance directly violates the Supreme Court judgments and the Madras High Court judgment which overturned the law banning online games.

The Madras High Court had, in an earlier judgement, held that any game (including rummy and poker) in which the better skilled person would prevail more often than not, is a game of skill, and is distinct from gambling or a game of chance. The Court further held that when it comes to card games such as rummy and poker, there is no distinction between skill involved in physical form or in virtual/online form.

Read more about it here.

CCPA issues show-cause notices to 6 online betting apps over surrogate ads

The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) on October 19, sent show-cause notices to six online betting apps for violating advertising norms. The CCPA alleges that six online betting apps misled consumers by issuing surrogate advertisements on news platforms. This comes after the Centre issued advisories to news websites, OTT platforms, and private satellite channels, asking them to refrain from carrying advertisements on online betting sites.

Read more about it here.