Alibaba, Jack Ma summoned by Gurugram court docket on former worker’s criticism

New Delhi, July 26

A Gurugram court docket has summoned Alibaba and its founder Jack Ma in a case wherein a former worker in India says he was wrongfully fired after objecting to what he noticed as censorship and pretend information on firm apps, paperwork seen by Reuters confirmed.

The case comes weeks after India cited safety considerations in banning Alibaba’s UC News, UC Browser and 57 different Chinese apps after a conflict between the 2 international locations’ forces on their border.

Following the ban, which China has criticized, India sought written solutions from all affected corporations, together with whether or not they censored content material or acted for any international authorities.

In court docket filings dated July 20 and beforehand not reported, the previous worker of Alibaba’s UC Web, Pushpandra Singh Parmar, alleges the corporate used to censor content material seen as unfavourable to China and its apps UC Browser and UC News showcased false information “to cause social and political turmoil”.

Civil Judge Sonia Sheokand of a district court docket in Haryana’s Gurugram has issued summons for Alibaba, Jack Ma and a couple of dozen people or firm models, asking them to seem in court docket or by way of a lawyer on July 29, court docket paperwork confirmed.

The decide has additionally sought written responses from the corporate and its executives inside 30 days, in accordance with the summons.

UC India stated in an announcement it had been “unwavering in its dedication to the India market and the welfare of its native staff, and its insurance policies are in compliance with native legal guidelines.

We are unable to touch upon ongoing litigation”.

Alibaba representatives didn’t reply to requests for remark from the Chinese firm or on behalf of Jack Ma.

Parmar, who labored as an affiliate director on the UC Web workplace in Gurugram till October 2017 and is in search of $268,000 in damages, referred Reuters queries to his lawyer, Atul Ahlawat, who declined to remark saying the matter was sub judice.

The court docket case is the most recent hurdle for Alibaba in India after the Indian authorities’s app ban, following which UC Web has began shedding some workers in India.

Before the apps have been banned, the UC Browser had been downloaded at the very least 689 million instances in India, whereas UC News had 79.eight million downloads, most throughout 2017 and 2018, information from analytics agency Sensor Tower confirmed.

Allegatrions in court docket

India has stated it banned the 59 apps after it obtained “credible inputs” that such apps posed a risk to India’s sovereignty. Its IT minister stated the choice was taken to safeguard residents’ information and public order.

In greater than 200 pages of court docket filings, reviewed by Reuters, former worker Parmar included clippings of some posts showcased on the UC News app that he alleged have been false.

One submit from 2017 was headlined in Hindi: “2,000-rupee notes to be banned from midnight today”. Another headline of a 2018 submit stated: “Just now: War broke out between India and Pakistan” and contained description of firing throughout the disputed border between the international locations.

Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the veracity of the claims within the court docket submitting. India didn’t ban its 2,000-rupee foreign money notice and no conflict occurred between India and Pakistan in 2018.

The lawsuit additionally accommodates a “sensitive words list” with key phrases in Hindi and English like “India-China border” and “Sino-India war” that the court docket submitting alleges have been utilized by UC Web to censor content material on its platforms in India.

“In order to control any news related content to be published against China was automatically/manually rejected by an audit system evolved for this purpose,” the submitting stated.

The Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and China’s international ministry in Beijing, in addition to India’s IT ministry in New Delhi, didn’t reply to requests for remark.—Reuters


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