Social networking sites were requested to block these web pages in order to comply with court orders, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal said in the Lok Sabha. “Social networking sites were requested to block 8, 21,352 and 1,208 URLs during 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively to comply with the court orders,” he added. That apart, 362, URLs were blocked in 2012, of which 312 URLs were blocked in a single instance at the time of exodus of North East people from different parts of the country, the Minister said. A total of 62 URLs have been blocked so far during the current year, Sibal added. “The web pages were hosting objectionable information and had the potential to disturb the public order in the country and blocked for access to public in the country on the request of law enforcement agencies,” he said.
Section 69A of the IT Act, 2000 empowers government to block any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource in interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to the above, he added. “There is no institutional monitoring mechanism for monitoring social networking sites. At present, law enforcement and intelligence/security agencies make searches on the Internet on specific case-to-case basis,” he said.