Right to be forgotten: Delhi HC asks Google if de-indexing of publications possible

women and cybercrime

New Delhi, March 15 (IANS) The Delhi High Court on Wednesday, in a petition invoking ‘Right to be forgotten’ and seeking removal of news and journal articles published on various online platforms, asked Google to file reply as to whether de-indexing of publications can be done so that URLs don’t appear in search engine results.

A single-judge bench of Justice Prathiba M. Singh was hearing doctor Ishwar Gilada’s petition pertaining to his wrongful arrest in regard to an FIR against him in 1999.

It was alleged that the petitioner was allegedly involved in illegally procuring medicines from abroad and administering the same to HIV patients in India.A

Dr Gilada is the first person to raise the alarm against AIDS in India (1985) and to start India’s first AIDS Clinic (1986) at the government-run JJ Hospital, Mumbai.

The petitioner’s lawyer Rohit Anil Rathi stated that the articles are available online platform of the publishers, British Medical Journal, the Lancet, NCBI, and Indian Paediatrics, and can also be searched on Google despite Dr Gilada has already been discharged in the FIR that was registered against him in 1999.

In the plea, Dr Gilada has relied on trial’s court order stating that “there is no evidence whatsoever of the petitioner having engaged in any illegality”.

He also relied on the order in Jorawer Singh Mundy v. Union of India & Ors, wherein Google was directed to remove a judgment from their search results.

The court ordered: “Let an affidavit be filed by Google as to whether de-indexing of publications can be done so that URLs don’t appear in search engine’s results. Let the affidavit be filed within two weeks.”

Observing that prima facie all the publications had been served notice by the petitioner for impleadment, the court issued notice to them, and also directed the Centre and other respondents to file their reply to the plea.

The court then listed the matter for the next hearing on May 18.

On February 17, the court had asked petitioner for communicating with the online publishers through email along with the copy of this petition as an intimation to the said publishers about the filing of the present petition.

“If they — the British Medical Journal, The Lancet, NCBI, and Indian Paediatrics choose to join the proceedings on the next date of hearing, they are allowed,” the court had said.

‘Right to be Forgotten’ enables a person to silence the past events of his life that are no longer occurring. Thus, the Right to be Forgotten entitles individuals to have information, videos, or photographs about themselves deleted from certain internet records so that search engines cannot find them.

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