The Supreme Court today sought a response from the Centre on a plea alleging that the internet service providers, without being heard, are forced by the government to remove "objectionable" contents posted on their websites by third parties.
"Issue notice,"a bench of justices J Chelameswar and A K Sikri after hearing brief arguments advanced by senior advocate K K Venugopal on behalf of the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).
The IAMAI has alleged that the Government, under Section 79(3)(b) of Information Technology Act, often unilaterally orders the internet service providers to remove alleged objectionable contents posted by others on their websites.
"There is complete violation of rule of audi alteram partem (hear the other side) as no opportunity is provided to an intermediary to be heard after the receipt of take down notice," the petition said.
While giving the notice to an internet service provider, the government is not under any legal obligation to give any reason or logic behind the order for removal of the allegedly objectionable content, it said.
The IT act provision does not envisage an inbuilt mechanism to assess the merits of a notice and once a take down notice has been received, there is no appeal provision for the intermediary, the plea said.
IAMAI has said the provision (79(3)(b) of Information Technology Act) is contrary to other provision of the Act.
The court has now clubbed the IAMAI's plea with other similar petitions for hearing.