MouthShut.com Approaches Supreme Court to Safeguard Freedom of Expression and Speech.
1Press ReleaseMouthShut.com approaches Supreme Court tosafeguard freedom of expressionMouthShut.com, India’s leading online community for consumer reviews has filed a WritPetition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India before the Hon’ble Supreme Court,inter-alia for quashing the Information Technology Rules (Intermediaries Guidelines), 2011and declaring them violative of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution of India. “We arepleading with the highest court in the land to protect the rights of Indian citizens,consumers that are granted by the Constitution of India,” said Faisal Farooqui, the ChiefExecutive Officer of MouthShut.com.Mouthshut.com provides consumers the ability to write reviews on any product or serviceoffered in India. Several lakh reviews have been written over the last decade and they aremade available free of cost to everyone. MouthShut.com is a very popular and highlytrusted destination for consumers who wish to better inform themselves before makingpurchasing decisions. The feedback also allows businesses to learn from consumerexperience and improve the quality of their offerings.According to Farooqui, “a very small percentage of companies wish that negative reviewsabout them would simply go away. Under the guise of ‘harmful speech’ they approach us toremove such reviews. The new law is vague and would require MouthShut.com to removeany negative review about a company or brand simply because they don’t like it,irrespective of the facts stated in the review.” Farooqui adds, “We have been threatenedwith hundreds of legal notices, cybercrime complaints and defamation cases. At othertimes, officers from various police stations call our office, demanding deletion of variousreviews or face dire consequences under the IT rules” Farooqui asserts thatMouthShut.com “investigates every complaint and has a policy of not removing a reviewsimply because someone doesn’t like it. The challenged rules take away our ability to standup to such demands.”The petition pleads to the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the IT Rules, 2011 should be struckdown because they are so vague that it cannot be predicted with certainty as to what isprohibited and what is permitted. A consequence of this law would be the delegation ofessential executive function to private parties like MouthShut.com to censor and restrictfree speech of citizens or else face legal challenge for users content
2“It is a privilege to be a citizen of a democracy like India where an ordinary citizen canappeal to a powerful court,” said Farooqui. “Laws are meant to ensure the well-being of thenation – its people and institutions. Despite good intentions, IT Rules fall short of doingthat. This law has the potential to weaken or, worse, entirely corrode the robust protectionthat the constitution of India offers to the freedom of speech. ““The Internet simply changes the mode of communication,” said Farooqui. “It does not alterthe fundamental fact that behind those reviews are the views of Indian citizens who havepreviously been expressing themselves freely in face-to-face meetings, articles innewspapers, newsletters and magazines and other public forums. Curbing that right asapplied to online reviews or attaching strings to it is a disservice to the right of self-expression guaranteed by the Constitution.”Senior advocate Mr. Harish Salvi appeared for MouthShut.com on the brief filed by M/sLawyers Knit & Co.About Mouthshut.comFounded in 2000, MouthShut.com is Indias first and largest online community forconsumer feedback on products and services. Several lakh reviews have been publishedover the past decade via online feedback, SMS or video, and they are made available free ofcost to everyone. MouthShut.com is a very popular and highly trusted destination forconsumers who wish to better inform themselves before making purchasing decisions.Besides offering consumers a free platform to express their opinions or benefit from theopinions of others, MouthShut.com also has several programs for businesses and brandsthat wish to benefit from the large repository of reviews to improve their products, serviceand brand reputation.For Further details, please contact:Sagar KhatarMouthShut.com+91-96193-00064