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The Delhi High Court Thursday deferred till Aug 7 the hearing on pleas filed by Facebook and Google challenging a trial court’s order to prosecute them for allegedly hosting objectionable content on websites.

Justice Suresh Kait adjourned the case and said its interim order, which refused to stay the summons issued against Google and Facebook by the trial court, would continue.

Petitioner Vinay Rai approached the trial court to remove objectionable content from 21 websites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube. Among these, 12 websites are of foreign-based companies.

The central government Jan 13 allowed the prosecution of the social networking sites, saying the content was instigating enmity between different groups on the ground of religion and was against national harmony.

Taking note of the government’s report, Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar ordered the accused companies to face trial for allegedly committing offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code sections 292 (sale of obscene books and material) and 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person).

The trial court observed that the material submitted by the complainant contained obscene pictures and derogatory articles pertaining to Hindu deities, Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ.

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