Delhi HC Asks Centre to Provide Order Copy of Blocking Website to Owner

Delhi High Court Law Insider

Paridhi Arya

Published on May 17, 2022 at 15:06 IST

The Division Bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Dinesh Kumar Sharma of Delhi High Court directed Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to provide Order Copy of blocking a website known as ‘Dowry Calculator’ to the owner of this website.

Tanul Thakur is the creator and owner of this website, the Government is also directed to provide post- decisional hearing to his Counsel.

The Petition was filed by Thakur seeking the directions should be passed by the Court to the Government to restore his website.

He contended that the website has been intended to be satirical against the arranged marriage system and dowry system of Indian society as it sounds like a market place where buyer and seller bargain.

The Petitioner had argued, “Dowry Calculator was launched in 2011 as a satirical comment on the existing state of dowry demand in India.”

“The humorous and ironic nature of the website was evident both from a bare perusal of the website and from a bare perusal of the website, which was dedicated to the “Match-making aunties of India” and the Petitioner’s repeated statements about it,” 

Indian Freedom Foundation (IFF) represented Petitioner in Court and stated that first time censored subject came into question and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has to reveal the Blocking Order.

“MeitY has never disclosed its Censorship Orders and rarely if ever, provided a hearing to the creator whose content is blocked, whether it is websites or tweets or videos. Now, MeitY has been ordered to provide both. This is a major step towards establishing some transparency in Government Censorship! This opacity allows MeitY to escape any form of accountability when it bans websites or orders your tweets to be deleted or orders your videos to be taken off social media,” the Indian Freedom Foundation has said.

The Petitioner prayed in the Petition that Rule 16 of the Information and Technology (Procedure and Safeguards in blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 had already declared void for the such part which restricts to give Copy of Blocking Order to the aggrieved party.

The Petitioner also prayed that guideline should be passed under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000 in Consonance of Rules so there should not be unreasonable restriction on Freedom of Speech and Expression.

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