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Supreme Court of India Comes Down On Bloggers 131

Posted by kdawson
from the watch-what-you-say-and-everybody-else-too dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that bloggers cannot shelter under an escape clause such as 'Any views expressed are solely those of the writers' to exercise freedom of speech in discussions and statements online. The ruling comes in response to an anti-defamation case filed against a 19 year old student's Orkut community, commenting upon the right-wing political organization Shiv Sena. This organization is based in the western state of Maharashtra and has been responsible for inflammatory speeches and numerous attacks upon non-Maharashtrians." The article does not make it entirely clear whether the student owner is himself accused of defamatory speech, or only commenters posting on his site. His defense that an Orkut community is not equivalent to a public forum was denied.
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Supreme Court of India Comes Down On Bloggers

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  • My request to all media is to stand up and speak out on this issue. Freedom of speech and freedom of press are essential to India keeping true to its democratic tradition.

    The judges of even the higher courts have to pay close attention to developing trends including social networking and impact on society and cultural norms. Criticism of
    political parties has to be protected...

    =Smidge=

    • by geobeck (924637) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:12PM (#26974349) Homepage

      Freedom of speech has limits. If what you say is untrue and can reasonably be argued to damage someone's reputation, then that person has a legitimate case. I haven't read the blog in question, but it boils down like this:

      If I say something like "I don't like Smidge because I don't believe in his ideology", that's neither inflammatory nor defamatory.

      If I say something like "Smidge is a threat to democracy in India!", that's inflammatory, but too general to be libelious. Smidge could bring a suit against me, but it would likely die before seeing a court room.

      If I said something like "Smidge should be arrested because he makes kiddie pr0n", that's inflammatory and defamatory, and would likely go to trial.

      Disclaimer: The views expressed in this message belong to no one in particular, and are likely just random characters assembled by my army of monkeys with typewriters. And IANAL.

      • Given that this is Shiv Sena that we're discussing, about the only things you could say about them that *aren't* true are the things nobody would believe. Like "they are decent human beings". Or "They don't actually eat children"

        Seriously though, SS is full of violent fundamentalists on par with any US based hate group, suing people for using Orkut is better than their usual tactics [slashdot.org] with Orkut users.

  • Do not disparage the "Anonymous Coward"

  • by Danger Will 42 (702072) * <WilliamNO@SPAMWJRobbins.com> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:49PM (#26973245) Homepage
    "A computer science student, Ajith pleaded that the comments made on the blog were mere exercise of their fundamental right to freedom of expression and speech and could not be treated as an offence by police. Unimpressed, the Bench said, "We cannot quash criminal proceedings. You are a computer student and you know how many people access internet portals. Hence, if someone files a criminal action on the basis of the content, then you will have to face the case. You have to go before the court and explain your conduct." So in essence, you are free to speak...and they are free to press criminal charges. Kind of like libel suits here in the States
    • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:57PM (#26973359) Journal

      Yeah but most libel suits in the U.S. get thrown-out because they have no merit. This sounds like that type of case.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by iminplaya (723125)

        But after how many dollars are wasted? And all the other stress factors? This only further illustrates the necessity of anonymity.

        • by dedazo (737510)

          You have a point, but the important thing is that it would never be allowed to stand, which means the blogger would never see the inside of a jail cell. The system might not be ideal, but it works.

          • by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:27PM (#26973723) Journal

            The threat of having to spend the money to defend yourself, possibly of having to be arrested and incarcerated while awaiting a criminal trial, is onerous enough that it would keep people from speaking freely.

            • by dedazo (737510)

              You wouldn't be incarcerated for something like this. Another indication that the system is better.

              As to the expense, yes, you do have a point. There are ways to get around that, but it is a problem. I don't think it stops many people from speaking out though.

              • You might be put in jail while awaiting trial/appeals. Unless SCOTUS has lost it, you would NOT be put in prison (which only happens after convictions/appeals/etc AFAIK)

                IANAL, IAN a cop, etc.

                • by dedazo (737510)

                  No you wouldn't. Not for something like this. You wouldn't even need to post bail. No imprisonment involved in an inherently non-criminal case. Again, the system works.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by the_womble (580291)

        On big difference is that the US has far better protection of free speech than India (or Europe). Hurting people's feelings is not a criminal offence in the US, as it often is in India [dancewithshadows.com]

    • by againjj (1132651) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:00PM (#26974183)
      I think the significance of the ruling is that it stated that forums of this type were public and so subject to libel proceedings, as opposed to private and thus immune as Ajith claimed. The article was not clearly written, but that is what I got out of it.
    • by ZeRu (1486391)
      I'm from Croatia and here it happened on a couple of occasions that bloggers who were critical of authorities were hunted down by police (and most of our police earned their routine in communism where they were the main instrument of people's oppression and they believe that the police exists to protect the regime from the people), which makes as as bad as some of the world's worst dictatorships. Also most of our politicians are luddites who don't see blogging as a form of journalism. But do you know what o
  • Oh Boy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WiiVault (1039946) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:51PM (#26973277)
    It amazes me how quickly civil liberties are being eroded around the world. It seems like every time I read the news or slashdot I hear another theft of the public good. Time to vote these bums out.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You are currently on level Jury box.
      The next level is Ammon box.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by damburger (981828)

        Some people have already taken that step in their dissatisfaction with the Indian government; there is a substantial Maoist insurgency in the countryside in some parts of India.

        Naturally the government isn't taking this lying down. They have, apparently having spent their school history classes smoking behind the bike sheds, recruited a brutal right-wing militia to put down the communist uprising.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Except that their commie uprising has little to do with freedom of speech in their constitution.
        • Re:Oh Boy (Score:5, Interesting)

          by XchristX (839963) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @06:31PM (#26975867)

          Naturally the government isn't taking this lying down. They have, apparently having spent their school history classes smoking behind the bike sheds, recruited a brutal right-wing militia to put down the communist uprising.

          This claim is a complete pantload of bullshit. You've been smoking whatever Ganja the naxalite-Communist terrorists have been feeding you. The NHRC has long since debunked these absurd conspiracy theories. SJ is privately funded. To be sure, they have sympathizers in government, but their money mainly comes from private donations from the local landlords etc., much like Ranvir Sena in Bihar.

          I'll bet you believe (like many Communists in India have propounded) that the recent Mumbai terror attacks were part of a secret conspiracy between Hindu bankers and the Jews, right?

          The Communist-controlled Indian media has glorified the Maoists and demonized their opponents, but the fact remains that the Maoists are a China-funded terrorist group that actively seeks to destroy India and depopulate the North-eastern states as a vanguard for a possible Chinese invasion from Tibet. Numerous documents were released by the FOIA division of the CIA that showed how Moist militants received financial support from China and infiltrated the Indian Army in the 1962 Sino-India war.

          The CIA has already provided evidence as to how Indian Communists, underthe instructions of their Chinese paymasters, infiltrated the Indian Army during the Sino-Indian war and betray military secrets to Beijing.

          http://www.foia.cia.gov/CPE/POLO/polo-07.pdf [cia.gov]
          http://www.foia.cia.gov/CPE/POLO/polo-08.pdf [cia.gov]
          http://www.foia.cia.gov/CPE/POLO/polo-09.pdf [cia.gov]
          http://www.foia.cia.gov/CPE/ESAU/esau-15.pdf [cia.gov]

          Highlights include:

          #CPI(M) [Communist Party of India Marxist] heavyweight HK Surjeet influenced by Communist Soviet Russia to setup an underground organization
          #CPI(M) did proceed to recruit a secret organization within the Indian Army.
          #China and Soviet Russia both insisted that the CPI(M) must develop a standby apparatus capable of armed resistance, while intensifying penetration of Indian Military forces.
          #With the People's Liberation Army now present along the Indian Border the Indian Party had a channel of support for Armed Operations and a potential "liberator" in the event of mass uprisings - 13 Sept 1959
          #4 powerful radio sets had been installed in the office of the China Review in Calcutta to listen to broadcasts from Beijing
          #Chinese Financial Subsidies to sections of the CPI(M) particularly the left faction strongholds in West Bengal
          #A foreign supply base was now available for the underground organizations with the Chinese occupation of Tibet and other frontier areas.
          #Letter asking for collaboration in Indian underground organization work aimed at an eventual revolution, because China has a border with India and can provide arms and supplies.
          #Also Jaipal Singh, head of the illegal organization within the Indian Army decided to reactivate his organization in 1961 following the hard left faction gaining control of the party.

          In addition, the Communist Party of India have successfully carried out several pogroms and genocides against Hindus and Tibetan refugees in India, particularly during the 70's and 80's (read up on the Nanoor genocide and Morichjhanpi genocides sometime, the Communist controlled Indian media will never discuss these things, of course), all as part of a Trotskyist strategy of maintaining a state of "permanent revolution" (the most recent one being the Nandigram SEZ genocide), all at the behest of their Chinese paymasters.

          China has also aggressively sponsored the terrorist Naxalite Communist terror movement in India by financing major Communist radicals (ethnic Bengali Bolshevists

          • by nog_lorp (896553)

            Woah.

          • Interesting stuff.

            However, I would tend to view publicly available CIA documents which make China, Russia and other assorted communists look bad as having questionable neutrality.
    • by jgtg32a (1173373)
      Because people don't like listening to good news, bad news sells.

      If it bleeds it leads.
    • Re:Oh Boy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by slashdotlurker (1113853) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:46PM (#26973969)
      I do not think you can. I have spent some time in India in the past. Judges there are not elected. Instead, they are like bureaucratic career professionals, selected through some examinations, and appointed by elected officials. A bit like our (and their) civil service.

      That system has its pluses and minuses. The minus is pretty obvious in this case. The plus is that their judiciary, though as corrupt as the rest of the country, is under no political pressure. I would check this with some of our Indian friends here, but I think its pretty hard to fire a judge there.
      • Re:Oh Boy (Score:5, Informative)

        by bhagwad (1426855) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:17PM (#26974417) Homepage
        True. It is hard to fire a judge here. However, the courts and specially the Supreme Court is seen to be one of the saviors of India because they are not afraid of the political classes.

        Also, the judge who delivered this judgment was no less than the Chief Justice himself. Thing is, he hasn't said that what the blogger said was wrong. He says that the blogger is responsible for what he writes.

        I'm disturbed by this. I believe the Internet should be a place where anyone can say anything. This will only increase anonymous blogging. On the other hand, I would be very hesitant to trash the judiciary as it's one of the few pillars of Indian society that is keeping corrupt politicians from doing whatever the hell they want.

        • by XchristX (839963)

          I'm disturbed by this. I believe the Internet should be a place where anyone can say anything. This will only increase anonymous blogging. On the other hand, I would be very hesitant to trash the judiciary as it's one of the few pillars of Indian society that is keeping corrupt politicians from doing whatever the hell they want.

          Indian judiciary is independent of government. Indian supreme court even went so far as to indict the government under Indira Gandhi when she declared emergency and suspended the constitution in 1984.

      • I do not think you can. I have spent some time in India in the past. Judges there are not elected.

        Electing Judges is pretty much specific to the USA. I don't know of any other countries which do that. And considering the number of people here who accuse US Judges of populism, I think appointed Judges are better over all.

      • The plus is that their judiciary, though as corrupt as the rest of the country, is under no political pressure.

        ... gasp! OK, I just picked myself off the floor after LMAO.

        Of course they are vulnerable to political pressure: promotions to higher courts depends entirely on the current administration in charge.

        Not to mention the threat of a "transfer" to the boondocks, where it's quite commonplace for judges to be menaced by local politicians and thugs (the same thing, really) into doing their bidding.

      • BRIBES or CASTE is the COLLUSION between any two individuals in Politics, Businesses, Police and Judiciary in India.
    • Yeah...actually, civil liberties as enjoyed in Western liberal democracies are really more the exception than the rule worldwide. In fact, historically speaking, they're a pretty recent invention. I know that here in the U.S. we love to talk about how our liberties are "eroding," but it's worth remembering that most of the world's population doesn't enjoy those liberties and, indeed, never has.
    • by JoshuaZ (1134087)

      Yes, things are bad and in some areas getting worse. But in other ways they are getting better. The world is far more free now than it was 30 years ago. The long term trends are positive.

      Furthermore, there's a selection bias. Slashdot and similar news sources report on the bad things, the censorship and the stupid use of libel laws. We don't see the smaller victories when ISPs or governments slowly decide to rollback censorship. Look at anti-pornography laws in the US. They haven't been taken off the

  • Precedence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by XanC (644172) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:53PM (#26973293)

    Putting aside the particulars of this case, something that really bothers me about law in general is that somebody has to be punished for a precedent to be set.

    Suppose (taking an example from this case), the fellow genuinely believed that an Orkut community was not equivalent to a public forum. Without a very specific law, and without a ruling on the matter, all a lawyer would be able to tell him would be "maybe".

    So your choices: a) play it safe, and never do anything that hasn't specifically been ruled "legal", or b) proceed, and when you're the first to find out it's not legal, you get slapped hard.

    "a" is what most people choose, and it's among the largest costs of our lawyer-ocracy.

    Is there a way for a judge to declare something illegal while letting a guy off the hook if he genuinely had no way to know for sure?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by takshaka (15297)

      Is there a way for a judge to declare something illegal while letting a guy off the hook if he genuinely had no way to know for sure?

      The judge can suspend the sentence [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:Precedence (Score:4, Insightful)

      by JustinOpinion (1246824) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:17PM (#26974419)

      I've often wondered why there isn't a mechanism by which a person/company can go to a court and get some kind of "advanced ruling" or "pre-judgment". Basically you file some kind of case that is asking the court/judge "if I go ahead and do this... will it be legal?" Then based on the ruling, you can decide whether or not to do it. I would imagine that such a ruling would not be 100% binding, in the sense that you could still be sued even with a supportive "pre-judgment"... but presumably having such a judgment would go some way towards building a defense case and a long way towards demonstrating no willful disregard for the law.

      Presumably the party asking for a such an advanced ruling would have to pay for their lawyer (and maybe some court fee?), but I would guess that it would still be highly valuable to many companies. There are so many startups that try things that are legally questionable (e.g. Psystar), and probably thousands of other startups that never see the light of day because investors are unsure about the legality. Shouldn't there be a way for these new ideas to be ruled legal/illegal without the massive risk of just going out and doing it!?

      Of course IANAL so for all I know something like this already exists. Please educate me if so.

      • by CesiumFrog (41314)

        Agreed, and even if there has been a ruling or legislation on it before, there still needs to be a way for the average person to find that out (without prohibitive expense). Must I go put on shoes, or can I legally drive here wearing basic thong sandals?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by belmolis (702863)

        This is possible in the US under limited circumstances. It's called a "suit for declaratory judgment". One of the few situations in which it is possible is when someone wants a court to declare that a product does not violate a patent.

        In general, however, this is not possible. The US court system was explicitly set up to prevent it. Article III, section 2, clause 1 of the Constitution empowers the courts only to hear cases involving "actual controversy". This has been interpreted as preventing the courts

    • by belmolis (702863)

      Sort of. On the one hand, the courts operate on the perhaps dubious principle that "ignorance of the law is no excuse". However, in quite a few cases, laws have been declared unconstitutional on the grounds of excessive vagueness. In other words, if the legal establishment is clear as to what a law means, ordinary people are assumed to know what it means too, but if even the lawyers and judges find it too unclear, violators can't be held responsible.

      This does mean, though, that the defendant has to be ab

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @02:53PM (#26973303) Journal

    >>>The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that bloggers cannot shelter under an escape clause to exercise freedom of speech

    If the politicians/leaders have shackles on your mouth, you are no longer free. They own your mouth and control what can be said. You are a slave.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      To be fair, free speech never existed and never will. Constraints will always be put on speech because society only likes and wants to allow speech that is socially acceptable. That's why hate speech is illegal in many places--people don't value freedom of speech for the sake of freedom of speech, they look to utilitarian value of speech and they'll drop the principle in a moment, claiming "free speech doesn't cover X" while doing so.

      You may not like it, but it's a feature of liberal democracies, and as l

      • >>>You may not like it, but it's a feature of liberal democracies, and as long as we have liberal democracies the individual will always be subservient to the whole.

        Then we should eliminate liberal democracies and replace them with liberal republics, that recognize that the individual right of free speech, et cetera is more important than the whole. That's what the U.S. was conceived to be in 1789, such that free speech was NEVER censored. Yes you heard correctly: never. Not even if you yelled "

        • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:51PM (#26974063)
          The U.S. was never conceived to be any such thing. The first amendment (along with the other 9) was only tacked on to the Constitution because the Federalists knew it was the only way to achieve popular ratification of the Constitution--with its stronger, more centralized government. They didn't give a shit about the ideology behind this amendment, it was designed purely to appease a suspicious populace. If you want a good example of how little the Federalists really thought of "free speech," you need only look at the Sedition Act [constitution.org], passed just a few years later at the behest of Federalist President John Adams--which outlawed any form of public criticism of the President or U.S. government.
          • That's only half the story. There were two major parties at the time.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Ashriel (1457949)

            Actually, the argument over the Bill of Rights was that if it were included than possibly sometime in the future the government might assume that the rights enumerated within might be considered the only rights that citizens have.

            Hence the 9th Amendment, which clearly states:

            The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

            Here in the U.S., citizens have any and all rights to do whatever they can imagine, the sole exceptions be

    • by damburger (981828) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:11PM (#26973539)
      Indeed. In Nazi Germany, you were free to say whatever you wanted, but the Gestapo was equally free to torture you and execute you for it.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      True freedom doesn't exist as long laws limit people. Doesn't make you a slave tho. You are a slave when you have no rights at all.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stonewallred (1465497)
        You are a slave when you decide to be a slave. Until that point, you may be shackled and gagged, beat and tortured, but you are still free. When the desire to fight, to escape, to search for physical freedom is lost, then you are a slave. Until then you are a prisoner.
    • If the politicians/leaders have shackles on your mouth, you are no longer free. They own your mouth and control what can be said. You are a slave.

      I hardly think that because you are limited in what you can express, you are a slave. That is a hyperbole of epic proportions.

      This is nothing to do with politicians/leaders having control of what you say, or think - rather, limiting what you say or think.

      Take the Sydney Cronolla Riots in Australia - where born-Australians and Middle Easterns in the Cronulla Beach Area degraded into urban warfare in 2005 [wikipedia.org]. This was fuelled by commentaries on the radio against Lebanese people. If a ban was put on that type of

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that bloggers cannot shelter under an escape clause such as 'Any views expressed are solely those of the writers'

    That isn't any kind of escape clause. Basically, it's a clause that says that views ARE the responsibility of the writers. "Editors" aren't mentioned as a writer, but they could be described as such. In addition, it doesn't say anything regarding to expressions presented not as a "view" but as a "fact".

  • by kraemate (1065878) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:10PM (#26973527)

    Can someone please tell me where exactly free speech ends and defamation begins?
    Is sarcasm defamation? Is questioning the reasons for the existance of a political organization(like in this case) defamation?

    Coming to this case.. the comments were made in a forum which was intended for this very purpose. What next are they going to do, jail everyone who was a member because they are associated with someone posting a nasty message?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by pjt33 (739471)

      IANAL, much less an Indian one, but on the assumption that Indian defamation law is based on English defamation law then it's defamation to make claims of fact (as opposed to opinion) which injure a person's good name (so they have to have one) and which you cannot prove to be true. In the case of published defamation the person who made the claim and the publisher would both be liable. I think they're going for the blogger as the "publisher" of comments made by third parties on his blog.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      OK, full disclosure: I don't know anything about defamation law in India. I can only speak to defamation in the United States.

      Standards for defamation will vary by state, but very generally it amounts to making a about someone that causes some measurable harm to their reputation, employment prospects, or exposes them to public hatred or obloquy.

      In U.S. law, this gets murky because we have the First Amendment. The First Amendment guarantees free speech, but doesn't generally give you carte blance to te
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by belmolis (702863)

        This isn't a defamation case in the usual sense. The guy is charged under an Indian law that criminalizes divisive speech.

    • by ultranova (717540)

      Can someone please tell me where exactly free speech ends and defamation begins?

      When your speech affects someone more powerful than yourself, it becomes defamation. In other words, the right to free speech only affects speech that doesn't matter.

  • Supreme Court of India Comes On Bloggers

    I think I have a problem. :(

  • I'm an Indian from the very heart of the Shiv Sena's hometown Thane (near Mumbai) in the state of Maharashtra. There is no such thing as democracy in India. Shiv Sena will do pretty much anything they please and get away with it. And anything here includes, beating up, killing, looting, molesting, terrorising and more. I hate this part of India.
  • by bikehorn (1371391) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @03:45PM (#26973943)
    Shiv Sena are a bunch of corrupt racist bastards. This judgement smacks of someone having bought the Supreme court so that they would have the power to crack down on people who have negative things to say about them and their bullshit political agenda. They are not above violence, torture, extortion, anything. I fear that nothing can stop these sectarian fucks from ruining my country. Where once the press had the freedom to poke fun at any politician they felt like, now they have to walk on eggshells.
    • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiv_Sena [wikipedia.org]

      Ouch, so judges can be bought into the Indian Supreme Court, eh? Sounds horrible. Glad I don't live there.
    • by bhagwad (1426855)
      This is the Supreme court. I seriously doubt that anyone or any political party has "bought" them.

      In addition, this was delivered by the Chief Justice of India himself and he is known to be an upright man.

      Even though I find it disturbing, the Chief Justice has not said that what the blogger said was wrong - that's another issue. He is saying that bloggers are liable for what they say. That isn't really a first though - Barkha Dutt and NDTV threatened to sue a blogger from criticizing them, and they were a m

    • Whoa! Be careful with those words my friend.
      The SCOI does not take kindly to accusation of corruption within its premises.
      First of all understand the law:
      Indian law follows the British model and NOT the US model.
      Indians do not have the constitutional right to free speech by default. Yeah, newspapers and others have.
      But unlike the Republic of California, bloggers are NOT reporters, so the immunity does not extend to them.
      Which is why the colonial relic: OSA is still in India.
      And No, the parlimentary model en

  • responsible for inflammatory speeches and numerous attacks upon non-Maharashtrians."

    Which quadrant of the galaxy are Maharashtrians from?

  • issues are unclear (Score:3, Interesting)

    by belmolis (702863) <billposer@alum. m i t .edu> on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @04:39PM (#26974703) Homepage

    The press report on this case is too vague to allow us to determine what the Supreme Court decided. Indian Supreme Court decisions are not published on the net, are they?

    There seem to be at least three issues here. First, is the student's blog community a public forum? If it is, the potentially offending material is "published" and subject to legal action. If it is not, it is essentially a private discussion and not subject to legal action. The press report suggests that this is one of the issues and that the court decided, probably correctly, that the student's blog community is not private.

    Second, is the author of the blog responsible for the posts of commenters or only for his own posts? The article suggests that this is an issue in that it is what the disclaimer refers to, but it isn't clear what Indian law says about this issue and what exactly the Supreme Court said about it.

    Third, what sort of content is actionable? This is not a libel case, and based on what little the article says about the offending content, would not be actionable as a libel case in the US or even, I think, in England. India apparently has a law that criminalizes the publication of statements that are divisive. It is this law under which the student has been charged. It sounds like a law that would be unconstitutional in the US.

  • I thought the Supreme Court of India was coming down on burgers... because Hindu people worship cows and therefore don't eat hamburgers.
  • India has bigger problems it's working hard on ignoring. The lack of clean food and water. The epidemic homeless situation. The missing education system for most of the population. The degraded farmland and the rubbish mountains.

    All of the above are more important than the right to abuse people in blogs.

    • by nashv (1479253)
      Fail. Free speech and the rights of an individual are the foundation of a prosperous society. Heard of World War II ? There was enough clean water and food, no homeless, a good education system and no degraded farmland in Germany. The whole mess occurred because something was wrong with the German governments idea of the 'Rights of an Individual', among other purely ideological notions.
      • by 1s44c (552956)

        Fail. Free speech and the rights of an individual are the foundation of a prosperous society.

        The foundation of a prosperous society are enough basics like food, water, and enough land for everyone to survive without having to rob or kill each other.

        Personal freedoms and the rights of individuals are noble concepts but how much freedom does a starving and unemployable man have?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bhagwad (1426855)
      I disagree. Free speech is the most important foundation of a free country.

      India fought for independence when fighting for the right to self determination even though there were homeless people at that time too. Should the freedom fighters have said "We have bigger problems?"

      The lower infrastructural facilities in India deserve attention, no doubt, but not at the cost of what makes India a free country. Also, why is are you implying that the two are exclusive? You can't say - "First I will do this, and the

    • by libcrypto (599315)
      So according to you governments should concentrate on one thing at a time? That is very realistic. Just stop all life while I resolve this one problem.
    • Hmmm...
      Thousands of veterans homeless roaming around with NO medical care. Thousands without medical insurance and necessary care.
      Millions of homes foreclosed so far throwing thousands of families on streets or tin-can homes
      A dysfunctional education system "enables" a student to go into Debt for $50K easily and results in them selling their virginity to fund the same.
      A Monsanto owned food chain that is an absolute monopoly and plays havoc with the lives of the farmers and also damages the Soil.
      A bankrupt ba

  • by hacksoncode (239847) on Tuesday February 24, 2009 @05:41PM (#26975419)
    Are most of these comments missing the point: he's not being sued/arrested for something that *he* said, he's being sued/arrested for something that *someone else said* on a forum he created.

    The only question is, are we (or even just Slashdot, or the OP) now liable for content posted by others here? Some of it apparently derogatory to the Indian government?

    *That* is the chilling effect that we can't tolerate.

  • Somebody is still using Orkut?

    • by monjolo (840680)
      Half of the BRIC: millions of Brazilians, millions of Indians etc.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by hoskeri (948924)

      Orkut is *very* popular in India. Everybody is on Orkut. To most of my friends (and relatives), if you are not on Orkut, then you dont exist.
      That they are doing the Internet equivalent of running around on the streets naked is lost on them.

      -Abhijit

  • Took a bit to understand this story.

    Shiv Sena is a political party in India. They've been around since the mid-60s and are generally described as being far right wing conservatives. They tend to be Buddist and have been accused of violence against Muslims. When they oppose the message they are quick to protest movies or other media, such as bloggers.
    • by belmolis (702863)

      No! No! No! Shiv Sena is not Buddhist. It is Hindu. The name means "Army of Shiva", one of the three main Hindu gods.

      • Doh!!!

        I am so sorry, you are absolutely correct. My sincere apologies for getting Hindu and Buddism mixed up in my response. I would edit my original, if I could.
  • Anonymous Coward (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    RTFA!! I think we are all missing the point here. The ruling doesn't say that you would be criminally prosecuted for your own views. The defamatory statements made against the Shiv Sena were not of the person who created a community (please can we stop calling him a blogger? ).

    He is being prosecuted for comments others put on a community that he started. So not only would you be prosecuted for your own comments. If you have initiated a discussion and someone says something defamatory, you can be held in lib

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dumdumdum (764232)
      Supreme courts in the India are one of the most "intelligent" and reliable institutions. One of the reasons why this guy will get prosecuted is because he started the community to instigate defamatory statements. His "intent" was to generate these defamatory comments. Actually if it had been just his blog and some random person had made a defamatory statement on his blog (which is general blog, not specifically aimed at defaming a party or a person), the courts would not have held him responsible for that

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

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