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Delhi High Court drops Microsoft from obscenity case

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The Delhi High court has thrown out proceedings against Internet giant Microsoft, which had been named in a lawsuit against more than 20 companies alleged to have hosted objectionable content from their sites. Microsoft’s lawyers had argued there were no relevant allegations to be answered.

A Microsoft representative has confirmed the development. “Microsoft had filed a petition on the grounds that neither the text of the complaint nor evidence adduced by the complainant, made any reference to Microsoft, and that it was contrary to law to summon a party against whom no allegation was made,” a Microsoft representative said.

In an earlier statement, the company said: “We have a long-term partnership with India which goes back to 1990, when we set up operations in the country, and we are committed to growing the Indian market and working in tandem with the government and industry to develop the local software ecosystem.”

The case, stemming from a complaint by Indian journalist Vinay Rai, now has as its main defendants Google and Facebook, because proceedings against Yahoo India subsidiary had been dropped earlier. A number of smaller sites have also targeted in the lawsuit.

In his lawsuit Vinay Rai had alleged that the websites are allowing users to post over-the-top satire as well as content that offend various religions, violating Indian laws against obscenity and inciting communal tensions. Rai had approached the trial court to remove objectionable content from 21 websites, including Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube.

The hearings in the trail court are scheduled to resume on May 23.

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