Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – Governance
- Supreme Court has held that internet intermediaries like Google cannot be protected from criminal defamation cases registered against them prior to October 27, 2009.
- It was only on October 27, 2009 that Parliament amended the Information Technology Act of 2000 to protect online intermediaries from liability for criminally defamatory content published in them by third parties.
- The amended Section 79 of the 2000 Act provided that “an intermediary shall not be liable for any third party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by him.”
- The amendment gave almost blanket protection to intermediaries from legal action under Section 499/500 (criminal defamation) of the Indian Penal Code.
- In India, defamation cases can be filed under two heads. It is either civil or criminal.
- In civil defamation, a person who is defamed can move either the High Court or the subordinate courts and seek damages in the form of monetary compensation. There is no punishment in the form of jail sentence
- In criminal defamation, the person against whom a defamation case is filed might be sentenced to two years’ imprisonment or fined or both.