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Plea against ‘defamatory content’: Delhi HC seeks details of entity behind Instagram account

The allegations against Gupta surfaced in December 2018 after #MeToo hit India a second time.

Subodh Gupta at his studio in Gurgaon. (Express Photo by Tashi Tobgyal)

The Delhi High Court has directed Facebook Inc, which is stated to control Instagram LLC, to furnish in a “sealed envelop” the particulars of the entity behind “Herdsceneand” Instagram account, which had uploaded detailed posts by some women accusing Indian artist Subodh Gupta of sexual misconduct.

The allegations against Gupta surfaced in December 2018 after #MeToo hit India a second time. Almost a year later, Gupta on September 17 moved the High Court against the alleged defamatory content on the anonymously run Instagram account and on the search engine of Google Inc, and sought injunction against the operator of the account.

Alleging that the allegations were false and malicious, he sought a direction to remove defamatory content from various URLs.

Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued the above direction after Gupta’s counsel informed the court that “defendant No. 2, Instagram LLC, is the platform on which defendant No. 1, Facebook Inc. is a page/handle account”. It was further informed by the senior counsel for Facebook Ireland Limited that they have no control over Facebook Inc.

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Taking note, the court in its interim order of September 30 said, “On the statement aforesaid of the senior counsel for the defendant No. 4 (Facebook Ireland Limited), defendant No. 3 Facebook Inc. which is stated to control defendant No. 2 Instagram LLC are now again directed to, on the next date of hearing, furnish to this court in a sealed envelop the particulars of the persons/entity behind the Instagram Account Herdsceneand”.

The court had on September 18 restrained Herdsceneand from posting on its account any content pertaining to Gupta.

Justice Endlaw also directed Herdsceneand, Instagram LLC, Facebook Incorporated, Facebook Ireland Limited, Google Incorporated and Google India Pvt Ltd to “forthwith” take down the alleged defamatory posts/articles/ all content pertaining to Gupta and block around 18 Uniform Resource Locators (URLs).

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The court listed the matter for further hearing on November 18.

First published on: 02-10-2019 at 02:10:14 am
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