Yahoo! was made part of the lawsuit “on the patently mistaken assumption that it is a social networking website” — Reuters (File photo)

NEW DELHI:Internet giant Yahoo! on Tuesday applied to be removed from a lawsuit lodged in an Indian court against social networking sites hosting allegedly offensive content.

More than 20 Internet firms, including Google and Facebook, have been named in the case, which follows meetings between government ministers and the companies over material seen as offending Muslims or defaming politicians.

Yahoo! was made part of the lawsuit “on the patently mistaken assumption that it is a social networking website”, lawyers for the company said in a district court hearing in Delhi.

The lawyers added there was “no cause of action” against Yahoo!, and described the case, which has been brought by a member of the public, as “a complete abuse of the process of law”.

Telecoms Minister Kapil Sibal has pressurised global Internet firms to crack down on offensive material but he has denied accusations of censorship, saying they only had to obey the same rules governing the press.

Google and Facebook said earlier this month that they had removed allegedly offensive content used as evidence in court.

The groups have appealed to the Delhi High Court asking for cases against them to be quashed on the basis they cannot be held responsible for their clients' actions.

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