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YouTube Is A Private Entity, Not Amenable To Writ Jurisdiction: Rajasthan High Court

ANIRUDH VIJAY
9 March 2022 8:45 AM GMT
YouTube Is A Private Entity, Not Amenable To Writ Jurisdiction: Rajasthan High Court
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The Rajasthan High Court on Monday dismissed as non-maintainable, a writ petition seeking various reliefs qua online video sharing platform, YouTube.Justice Mahendar Kumar Goyal refused to accept the submission of the petitioner that Youtube discharges the functions of a 'State', considering the public nature of the functions it performs."There is not a whisper of averment in the entire...

The Rajasthan High Court on Monday dismissed as non-maintainable, a writ petition seeking various reliefs qua online video sharing platform, YouTube.

Justice Mahendar Kumar Goyal refused to accept the submission of the petitioner that Youtube discharges the functions of a 'State', considering the public nature of the functions it performs.

"There is not a whisper of averment in the entire writ petition as to true nature of functions being discharged by the respondent No.2 (YouTube) or the same being of public importance. In absence of any factual foundation to substantiate the submission that the respondent No.1 has deep and pervasive control over the affairs of the respondent No.2 or it discharges the public functions which are akin to the Government functions, this Court is not persuaded to accept the submission made by learned counsel for the petitioner."

The present plea was filed by one Dharmender Kumar Sharma, seeking directions from the court to set aside Youtube's action of removing his videos and the subsequent termination of his channel from the platform. He also sought direction to Youtube to restore his channel, which was maintained with the name and style of "Gurudev Siyag Sidh Yoga Free".

The plea stated,

"That respondents are a state, hence squarely amenable to the writ jurisdiction of this Hon'ble Court. It is also evident from that facts mentioned supra that respondent no.2 follows an arbitrary and inconsistent application of content moderation policy. Rather, it seems it has established a parallel regime of speech regulation along with the state. Hence, respondent no.2 discharges the functions of a 'state' considering the public nature of the functions it performs"

The court noted that even though Union of India has been made the first Respondent to the plea, all the reliefs are however claimed against YouTube, a limited liability company. Further, there was not a whisper of averment in the entire writ petition as to the true nature of functions being discharged by the company.

Placing reliance on Ajay Hasia Vs. Khalid Mujib Sehravardi & Ors. [AIR 1981 SC 487], the petitioner contended that since the State has deep and pervasive control over the affairs of YouTube. Further, the company discharges the public function which is closely related to the Government function, it is amenable to the writ jurisdiction.

"Entire relief has been claimed against the respondent No.2, a limited liability company. Although, it has been submitted that it is amenable to the writ jurisdiction on account of the State having its deep and pervasive control over its affairs and also for the reason that it discharges the functions of public importance which are closely related to the Government functions; but, the writ petition is bereft of any such averment," the Court said.

Furthermore, the court rejected petitioner's reliance on Aarti Tikoo Vs. Union of India, since the petitioner failed to disclose the facts of the case, the parties involved and the controversy that erupted therein.

Adv. Ashish Davessar appeared for the petitioner.

Case Title: Dharmender Kumar Sharma v. Union of India & Ors.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Raj) 90

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