Close to 500 URLs of social media websites were blocked in 2015 (till November 30) under Section 69A of the IT Act, a manifold jump compared to the last two years, Parliament was informed on Friday.

“A total of 13, 10 and 492 URLs of social media websites were blocked in 2013, 2014 and 2015 (till November 30), respectively under Section 69A through the Committee constituted under the rules therein,” Minister of Communications and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

Further, a total of 533, 432 and 352 URLs of social media websites were blocked in compliance with the directions of the competent Courts of India in 2013, 2014 and 2015 (till November 30), respectively, he added.

Mr. Prasad said the government takes prompt action under Section 69A of Information Technology Act 2000 for blocking of websites/URLs with objectionable contents, whenever requests are received from designated nodal officers or upon Court orders for blocking of websites/URLs.

“Section 69A empowers Government to block any information generated, transmitted, received, stored or hosted in any computer resource in the interest of Sovereignty and Integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above,” he said.

The Minister further said Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) gets requests for blocking of objectionable content from individuals and organisations.

It forwards those requests to the websites concerned for appropriate action, Mr. Prasad said.