Hundreds of Net 4 India Limited (Net 4 India) registrants continue to face challenges regarding the renewal, transfer, and management of their domain name registrations. Below is an update on ongoing efforts by ICANN organization (org) to assist registrants and facilitate the bulk transfer of Net 4 India registrations to a functioning registrar.
Net 4 India has been an ICANN-accredited registrar since 2006. In June 2019, ICANN org issued a Notice of Suspension to Net 4 India for certain violations of the Registrar Accreditation Agreement (RAA), including the initiation of insolvency proceedings that were not resolved in a timely manner. Notwithstanding the pending insolvency, Net 4 India was still required to serve its customers while the insolvency proceedings continued. ICANN org later postponed the suspension due to concerns that suspension of the RAA may not have been consistent with Indian insolvency restrictions. At that time, ICANN org's understanding was Net 4 India was complying with its other RAA obligations and was responding to registrants.
However, beginning in September 2020 Net 4 India customers started facing numerous challenges with their domain names. In particular, Net 4 India failed to respond in a timely manner to multiple registrant requests to transfer, renew, and/or update domain name registrations. The number of complaints and requests for assistance received by ICANN org, through various channels, started increasing at a steady pace. Since September 2020, ICANN org has received more than 8,000 complaints and requests for assistance regarding Net 4 India.
ICANN org reached out to Net 4 India well over a hundred times to resolve the pending issues, to no avail. Even after numerous notices and ample time to cure, Net 4 India failed to cure the noncompliance issues and continued to fail to respond to its registrants, leading to three separate breach notices on 10 December 2020, 24 December 2020, and 29 January 2021.
As a result of Net 4 India's continuing breaches and failure to provide service to its customers, thousands of registrants have been prevented from (or significantly delayed in) transferring or renewing their domain name registrations, updating their registration data, or even operating their domain names.
On 26 February 2021, ICANN org issued a Notice of Termination of Net 4 India's RAA, with an effective date of 13 March 2021. The next step in this termination process is to invoke the De-Accredited Registrar Transition Procedure (DARTP), which would enable ICANN org to initiate a bulk transfer of domain names to another registrar.
On 5 March 2021, the Resolution Professional (RP) appointed by the Indian insolvency court to represent the interests of Net 4 India asked the insolvency court, the National Company Law Tribunal, New Delhi Bench, to prevent the RAA termination from proceeding. ICANN org objected. Details about what has happened since are available on ICANN's litigation webpage. The next hearing is scheduled for 27 April 2021.
While we await a final order from the insolvency court, ICANN has requested that all registries not delete expired domain names registered through Net 4 India that registrants have not been able to renew or transfer.
ICANN will continue to update the litigation webpage. Registrants may also monitor the progress of the insolvency proceedings at the National Company Law Tribunal, New Delhi Bench (NCLT) website. Some registrants have also applied directly to the NCLT for relief related to their grievances with Net 4 India.
ICANN org is taking actions permitted by its agreements, policies, and law to protect registrants and to facilitate the bulk transfer of the Net 4 India registrations to a functioning registrar that can service its customers. ICANN also is being respectful of the NCLT's processes with this case, which have not yet concluded. ICANN is determined to help find a resolution to the present challenges.
Information on resources available to registrants and affected users, including how to file a complaint and contact ICANN's Global Support Center, is available here.