Alibaba, Jack Ma Summoned by Indian Court docket on Former Worker’s Criticism

An Indian 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 faux information on firm apps, paperwork seen by Reuters confirmed.

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

Following the ban, which China has criticised, India sought written solutions from all affected firms, 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 UCWeb, Pushpandra Singh Parmar, alleges the corporate used to censor content material seen as unfavourable to China and its apps UC Browser and UC Information showcased false information “to trigger social and political turmoil”.

Civil Decide Sonia Sheokand of a district court docket in Gurugram, a satellite tv for pc metropolis of India’s capital, New Delhi, 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 choose has additionally sought written responses from the corporate and its executives inside 30 days, in response to the summons.

UC India mentioned in a press release 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’re unable to touch upon ongoing litigation”.

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

Parmar, who labored as an affiliate director on the UC Internet workplace in Gurugram till October 2017 and is looking for $268,000 (roughly Rs. 2 crores) 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 newest hurdle for Alibaba in India after the Indian authorities’s app ban, following which UC Internet has began shedding some employees in India.

Earlier than the apps had been banned, the UC Browser had been downloaded a minimum of 689 million instances in India, whereas UC Information had 79.eight million downloads, most throughout 2017 and 2018, information from analytics agency Sensor Tower confirmed.

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

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

One publish from 2017 was headlined in Hindi: “2,000-rupee notes to be banned from midnight as we speak”. One other headline of a 2018 publish mentioned: “Simply now: Conflict 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 word and no warfare occurred between India and Pakistan in 2018.

The lawsuit additionally incorporates a “delicate phrases record” with key phrases in Hindi and English like “India-China border” and “Sino-India warfare” that the court docket submitting alleges had been utilized by UC Internet to censor content material on its platforms in India.

“With a view to management any information associated content material to be printed in opposition to China was robotically/manually rejected by an audit system advanced for this function,” the submitting mentioned.

The Chinese language 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.

© Thomson Reuters 2020

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