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Facebook has appealed to the Division Bench of the Delhi High Court challenging the Single Judge verdict dated 23rd October 2019, ordering global blocking of disparaging content that was banned from the book titled ‘Godman to Tycoon – The Untold Story of Baba Ramdev’.

The appeal, filed by Senior Advocate Parag Tripathi, states that Justice Pratibha M Singh erred in her interpretation of Section 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act as having extra territorial application.

It also says that pursuant to an interim order of the High Court, the contested content was already geo-blocked in India which should have been adequate for Swami Ramdev’s reputational concerns.

The plea states, “Instead of imposing the global injunction, it could’ve asked the Petitioner to take a legal action against the uploaders of the contested content.”

The plea contends that no action was taken against the uploaders for alternate remedies, which was equally efficacious. To that extent, it has been contended that the interim relief of geo-blocking violated Section 41(h) of the Specific Relief Act, 1963. Non-impleadment of the necessary parties who uploaded the content has also been questioned by Facebook in its appeal, saying, “the Respondents waged a “proxy battle” with Appellant and the other intermediary defendants in the suit, which are non-adversarial parties, instead of impleading the uploaders of the Contested Content.”

It has been further averred that global blocking as a measure violates principles of national sovereignty and international comity as it would undermine the immunities granted to Facebook in other jurisdictions.

It also points out that if a similar global injunction was imposed by a foreign court, the same would be unenforceable in India in view of Section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

— India Legal Bureau

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