Europe & UK

October 04, 2019

Anti-Facebook EU Court Ruling On Removal Of Defamatory Content Across The World Likely To Influence Indian Courts

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The recent European Court of Justice ruling against Facebook that national courts across Europe may order online platforms to remove defamatory content worldwide is likely to have persuasive value to influence Indian courts, though it is unlikely to have a direct impact.

The top European Union (EU) court’s ruling has come at a crucial juncture when similar matters are pending in Indian courts.

For instance, in July 2018, one Antony Clement Rubin had filed a petition in the Madras High court seeking the linking of social media profiles with Aadhaar cards in order to conclusively authenticate their identities.

Rubin claimed that he had been cyberbullied online and was a victim of defamatory posts on Facebook.

Later, a division bench of the Madras High Court expanded the scope of his petition to include issues such as curbing cybercrimes and intermediary liability within the ambit of the legal proceedings.

In August this year, Facebook and WhatsApp sought the transfer of four similar petitions on linking social media accounts with Aadhaar from various high courts to the Supreme Court.

On September 24, the Supreme Court asked the government to file an affidavit within three weeks on the status of intermediary guidelines with definite timelines on them in the transfer petition matter and directed the government to curb social media misuse, but also ensure user privacy.

The latest European Court of Justice ruling against Facebook allowing courts to order social media platforms to remove defamatory content or to block access to it worldwide is likely to influence similar cases in India, according to observers among India’s legal community.

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