W.P.(C) 3672/2012 and CM Nos.7709/2012, 12197/2012 and 6888/2013
  K.N. GOVINDACHARYA ..... Petitioner
  Through: Mr Virag Gupta, Mr Vikas Chandra and Mr Rajeev Kumar Deora,
  UNION OF INDIA and ORS ..... Respondents
  Through: Mr Rajeeve Mehra, ASG with
  Mr Sumeet Pushkarna, CGSC and
  Mr Gaurav Sharma, Advocate for R-1/UOI.
  Mr Akhil Anand and Mr Praveen Sehrawat, Advocates for R-3.
  Mr Parag Tripathi, Sr. Advocate with Mr Tejas Karia, Ms Suman Kukrety,
  Advocates for R-9.
  Mr Arvind Nigam Sr, Advocate with Mr Neel Mason and Mr Ankit Relan,
  Advocates for R-10.
   O R D E R
  With regard to the issue of whether children can open accounts with
  social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut, there is no dispute
  that children below the age of 13 years are not permitted to open such
  accounts. It is not in dispute that if it comes in the knowledge of any
  person that a child below the age of 13 years has opened such an account
  he may make a complaint to the social networking site who shall then take
  appropriate action, after verification, for deletion of that account.
  In this connection, the learned counsel for the petitioner has
  drawn our attention to the Information Technology (Intermediaries
  Guidelines) Rules, 2011. There is also no dispute that the social
  networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut fall within the definition of
  ?Intermediary? as per Rule 2(i) of the said Rules read with Section
  2(1)(w) of the Information Technology Act, 2000. Therefore, the
  provisions of Rule 3 of the said Rules would apply to them. Rule 3
  requires due diligence to be observed by the intermediary. Rule 3(1)
  requires an intermediary to publish the rules and regulations, privacy policy and user agreement for access or usage of the intermediary?s
  computer resource by any person. There appears to be no difficulty
  insofar as Rule 3(1) is concerned inasmuch as apparently both Facebook
  and Orkut have published the Rules and Regulations as also the privacy
  policy and user agreements for access and usage of their computer
  resource. Rule 3(2) contains certain other directions as to what should
  be the content of the Rules and Regulations, terms and conditions and the
  user agreements. For the present, though, we are focussing on Rule 3(4)
  which reads as under:-
  ?(4) The intermediary, on whose computer system the information is
  stored or hosted or published, upon obtaining knowledge by itself or been
  brought to actual knowledge by an affected person in writing or through
  email signed with electronic signature about any such information as
  mentioned in sub-rule (2) above, shall act within thirty six hours and
  where applicable, work with user or owner of such information to disable
  such information that is in contravention of sub-rule (2). Further the
  intermediary shall preserve such information and associated records for
  at least ninety days for investigation purposes.?
  By virtue of a subsequent clarificatory notification, it has been
  clarified that the intermediary shall respond to or acknowledge the
  complainant within thirty six hours and the same shall be redressed
  promptly but in any case within 30 days. From the above, Rule 3(4) as
  clarified, it is apparent that the intermediary can take action both on a
  complaint in writing from affected persons as well as on obtaining
  knowledge by itself. This is relevant in the context of the material
  which has been submitted by the learned counsel for the petitioner with
  regard to usage of the social networking sites by minor groups. Those
  have been made part of the papers in the present petition and will be
  taken note of by the social networking sites and they shall take
  appropriate action as required under Rule 3(4) of the said Rules.
  Mr Nigam, the learned senior counsel appearing on behalf of Google
  Inc., states that there was a complaint with regard to one search result,
  which was pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioner. That
  has been addressed and removed.
  The learned counsel for the petitioner has also drawn our attention
  to Rule 3(11) of the said Rules, which reads as under:-
  ?(11) The intermediary shall publish on its website the name of the
  Grievance Officer and his contact details as well as mechanism by which
  users or any victim who suffers as a result of access or usage of
  computer resource by any person in violation of rule 3 can notify their
  complaints against such access or usage of computer resource of the
  intermediary or other matters pertaining to the computer resources made
  available by it. The Grievance Officer shall redress the complaints
  within one month from the date of receipt of complaint.?
  On going through the above, sub rule (11), we feel that it should be directed that intermediaries, including the social networking sites
  such as Facebook and Orkut, should immediately publish the names of the
  respective Grievance Officers on their websites alongwith contact numbers
  as well as the mechanism by which any user or any victim who suffers as a
  result of access or usage of computer resource by any person in violation
  of rule 3, can notify their complaints against such access or usage.
  The same be complied with, if not already done, within two weeks.
  Mr Rajeeve Mehra, the learned Additional Solicitor General
  appearing on behalf of the Union of India, states that the Union of India
  shall also take steps to ensure that the intermediaries comply with the
  requirement of Rule 3(11).
  The learned counsel appearing for the petitioner has also raised
  certain issues with regard to the provisions of the Public Records Act,
  1993. The learned Additional Solicitor General seeks sometime to examine
  the same before he makes his submissions in this regard.
  Renotify on 26.09.2013.
  Dasti under the signatures of the Court Master.
  AUGUST 23, 2013/MK
  $ 5