Judicial time consumed set at naught, YouTube to pay Rs 50,000 per hearing as costs

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Nazmi Waziri, J. while dismissing an appeal as withdrawn, directed YouTube LLC to pay Rs 50,000 per hearing.

The present appeal arose due to non-compliance of the injunction order passed by the trial court, directing the appellant to remove the offensive post with the tagline “Indian Money Hungry Dr Geeta Shroff Must Watch”, damaging the fair name of the respondent. It is pertinent to note that the matter was postponed 9 times in 64 days on appellant’s request. The appellant tried to shield behind SPEECH Act (US statute), contending that the post was uploaded from outside India, and the said Act restrains the appellants to disclose the identity of the uploader until directed in terms the Act. Further, the appellant submitted that compliance with the injunction order was not possible due to technological reasons.

The High Court, while considering the submissions, noted that the appellant did not challenge the injunction order and thus it had attained finality. The position that the post was uploaded from outside India was never disputed during the passing of the order. Further, on the contention of ‘technological reasons’ was also rejected and it was noted that “contents can never be master of the vehicle or platform on which they are posted”. The Court held that there was no merit in the appeal and was liable to be dismissed. However, the appellant sought to withdraw the appeal. The Court noted the fact of postponement of the matter 9 times as mentioned above and thought it right that the judicial time consumed should be set at naught. Accordingly, the appellant was directed to pay Rs 50,000 per hearing as costs. The appeal was dismissed as withdrawn. [YouTube LLC v.  Geeta Shroff,2018 SCC OnLine Del 9439, decided on 17-05-2018]

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