E-Commerce Portals Not Responsible for Sellers’ Products

Author: thinkinglegal | March 13, 2020 - 18:53 | Tags: Corporate Advisory

On January 31, 2020, the Delhi High Court set aside an earlier order restricting e-commerce portals such as Amazon and Snapdeal from selling the products of direct selling entities such as Amway, Modicare and Oriflame (“Direct Selling Entities”) on their respective platforms.

In 2019, the Direct Selling Entities had alleged that their products were being sold on various e-commerce portals illegally at unwarranted discounts resulting in a decline in their sales. The e-commerce portals argued that they were acting as an intermediary under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act 2000 (“IT Act”) and hence, were not liable for the products that sellers offered on its website.

The High Court held that online platforms’ obligation to remove content arises only if there is a court order or a notification from a government agency on the grounds mentioned in Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India. The allegation from direct selling entities without the support of court order will not trigger the obligation to takedown the posted content. High Court ruled that even though the platforms provide value-added services, this does not dilute the safe harbour granted to them under Section 79 of the IT Act.

This post has been contributed by Ms. Vaneesa Agrawal and Ms. Vasuvita Singh.

[DISCLAIMER:  This article is for academic purpose and is solely to provide readers with general information regarding developments in Indian law. The information contained herein does not constitute legal or a professional advice.]