SC rules out action against US-based internet firms

New Delhi, June 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court Tuesday expressed its limitations in acting against officials of US-based internet service providers on a plea alleging violation of the privacy rights of 6.3 billion Indians by sharing their data with American intelligence agencies.

Dismissing the public interest litigation, the court said: "The Supreme Court's jurisdiction can't be over the whole world...and let us be very clear on that."

An apex court bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Ranjan Gogoi said their jurisdiction to enforce the fundamental rights was limited to the Indian state and its instrumentalities and not against the US government, its people or its corporations.

The American people, government and corporations were not covered under Article 21 of the constitution guaranteeing protection of life and personal liberty, the judges said.

The court asked petitioner S.N. Singh: "Does the Supreme Court have jurisdiction over the whole world?"

Singh had sought action against CEOs of nine US-based internet service provider for breach of contract and violation of right to privacy by sharing 6.3 billion Indians' data with US intelligence agencies.

The petition which was mentioned before the apex court June 19 also sought direction to the central government to ask the internet companies doing business in India to set up their servers in the country so that they came under legal regime here.

The nine companies that the petitioner mentioned and whose data was allegedly used the American security agency included Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, Pal Talk, YouTube, Skype, AOL and Apple.

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