DNR’s Website or URL may be Blocked for Repeated Non-Compliance with Court Orders: MeitY

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) submitted a status report to the Delhi High Court on March 25, 2023, in which it asserted that repeated non-compliance with court orders by Domain Name Registrars (DNRs) constitutes a violation of public order and in such cases, the court may block the website or URL of the concerned DNR under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Several civil suits have been filed before the Delhi High Court pertaining to the registration of domain names which infringe upon the trademark rights of IP owners. Further, it is the specific contention of the plaintiffs that DNRs fail to comply with court orders directing the blocking or locking of infringing domain names.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 mandate the intermediaries to have a grievance redressal mechanism in place (to deal with the violation of said rules) and to publish the same along with details of the Grievance Officer on its website or mobile application. The Ministry contended that the rules do not impose any penalty if the same is not followed by the intermediaries. It was also submitted that DNRs which fail to obey the competent court’s orders will not be eligible to benefit from the safe harbour clause under Section 79 of the Act, since they neglected to take stringent steps as envisaged under the rules.

The Delhi High Court heard the parties and listed the matters on future dates to hear their submissions and arrive at a verdict to ensure that DNRs comply with injunction orders passed by Indian courts.