By: Rajneesh De
In a recent judgement, Delhi High Court judge, Justice Najmi Waziri, slapped a fine of ₹9.5L on YouTube for not removing an ‘offensive’ video from its platform. The content that was asked to be removed was targeted against the IVF practices of a Delhi-based female doctor. The fine included a punishment for wasting judicial time – ₹50,000 for each of the nine hearings that took place over the last 64 days.
In June 2015, the trial court had directed YouTube and its parent, Google, to remove the content. For the past nine trials, YouTube had been asking for a time extension to comply with the decision of the High court. However, after the ninth trial, it said that it cannot comply at all, because of “technological reasons”.
YouTube argued that though it could not remove the content permanently, it could ensure that nobody had access to it and that would also, by extension, mean complying with the High Court’s decision. However, the court refused to accept these two actions as equivalents of one another.
The Google-owned platform then decided to withdraw its appeal from the High Court and challenge the trial court decree. The Court allowed YouTube to do so on two conditions – one, the company would not raise any arguments that have already been addressed in this court and two, it will pay the fine mentioned by the court for the doctor. Rupees 100,000 also needs to be paid to the High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre as a repayment of costs incurred during the trials.
Even though YouTube pleaded its case stating ‘technical reasons’ and their helplessness in the matter, the bench did not make any allowances and refused to believe that content on a platform could govern its entire functioning.