Sasikala Pushpa v. Facebook India & Ors.

Gitanjali SadanCase Summary

Liability of an intermediary under Section 79

Sasikala Pushpa v. Facebook India & Ors.
In the High Court of Delhi
CS(OS) 510/2016
Before Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw
Decided on June 02, 2020

Relevancy of the Case: Liability of an intermediary under Section 79

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technolgy Act, 2000 (Section 2(1)(w), 79)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • The plaintiff is a sitting Rajya Sabha MP from the AIADMK party.
  • She received several threats and allegations, including the distribution of defamatory photos and videos of her.
  • Some unknown individuals have uploaded her photos and videos on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and WhatsApp.
  • These photos and videos show her with a man from a rival party of AIADMK. However, the plaintiff submits that these pictures are morphed and fabricated.
  • The plaintiff has filed a suit seeking a permanent injunction against Facebook, Google, and YouTube for publishing, distributing, or broadcasting defamatory material in any form.

Opinion of the Bench

  • The court analysed the role of an intermediary. It discussed whether the defendants are liable for the circulation of the photographs in question. Further, the court concluded that intermediaries are not liable to remove the content in the present case.
  • Intermediaries only become liable when they do not take action after receiving knowledge from a court order or the directions from the appropriate government, and it fails to abide by such order or dictions.
  • Regarding the right to privacy, the bench noted that the plaintiff is a public representative. The public has a right to know about such meetings with a rival party member. Hence, this outweighs the private interest of the plaintiff. Moreover, these pictures are not within the scope of obscenity.

Final Decision

  • The court decided that the plaintiff is not entitled to claim any relief. The present suit has failed.