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A Delhi court Saturday questioned a central government official to explain the process of serving summons on US-based websites, including Facebook and Google, for allegedly hosting defamatory content on their sites.

Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja sought the presence of union home ministry’s Under Secretary Amar Chand Oct 9 in a case against 21 social networking sites and websites.

The court in its order said: “The summons were sent on June 12. In response to the said summons, Amar Chand has sent a reply along with an annexure setting out the details mentioned in Article 4 of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty between the US and India… Let Amar Chand, under secretary, be summoned for Oct 9.”

The court was hearing a criminal case filed by journalist Vinay Rai who sought the removal of derogatory content from 21 social networking sites and websites.

Facebook, Orkut, YouTube, Yahoo, Blogspot, Google and Microsoft are some of the websites named in the complaint filed by Rai.

The 21 social networking websites were issued summons by the court Dec 23 for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and objects and hosting objectionable content.

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