The Delhi High Court on Tuesday (August 22) took cognizance of a petition by Gurmeet Singh against social media sites Facebook and others, as well as search engines Google and others for making available to gullible children a dangerous game called ‘Blue Whale’ in the 50th step of which the child commits suicide. Instances of children jumping off tall buildings and dying have been reported. So far, five deaths have been allegedly linked to this game in India.
The petitioner wants a ban on the game and pulling out of all related links from sites. The bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar is hearing the case.
On Tuesday, Singh’s petition said this game has some serious and adverse psychological effects on the persons being engaged in playing this game. The bench asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, counsel for the Union of India whether he was aware of the Blue Whale game.
Respondent counsel for GNCTD, Sanjay Ghosh, said: “Even the CBSE has issued guidelines on the above matter and the Union of India has taken a stand against all these websites by issuing them notices to remove the links. As far as Delhi is concerned, there are established cases in this matter.”
The petitioner said he wants a ban on this game all over India. “Under Section 76 of the IT Act they (the websites) can be held liable if they can’t remove the links from the websites. Under Section 79 of the IT Act all the websites are intermediaries and the Union of India said we have already issued notice to all the websites to remove the link of the game which they haven’t till today.
“People are following the steps in the game and at 50th step they are committing suicide. I search on Google within in 0.37 seconds they can find the link related to this game, which is unfortunate,” he said.
Jain said if it is a link please make them parties (Facebook, Yahoo, Google) all other websites in the case. We may ban it under the IT Act, but it is a link and it can be uploaded by any person. Google and Facebook have policies and their cooperation is needed from beginning.”
The bench ordered that the Union of India is impleaded as a party and has to file a reply no later than September 19. The bench also issued notice to the police who shall also be impleaded as a party in the case.
The bench also directed that status report be filed by Sanjay Ghosh from GNCTD and Jain accepted the notice on behalf of Union of India. Managing director of all the websites, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, the State Commissioner of Delhi Police and the Union of India to file a reply no later than September 19.
The next hearing date is September 19.
—India legal Bureau