No reason for separate law to delink information from net: Google to Delhi HC

Google has contended that even if it disables or blocks a site in its search engine, that webpage will remain on the original website and would be accessible on other search engines


The Delhi high court asked the Centre to state its stand on whether irrelevant information can be delinked from the Internet. Photo: HT
The Delhi high court asked the Centre to state its stand on whether irrelevant information can be delinked from the Internet. Photo: HT

New Delhi: There is no reason for creation of a separate legal framework under ‘right to be forgotten’ to delink ‘irrelevant information’ from the Internet, Google Inc on Thursday told Delhi high court.

The submission was made in an affidavit placed before justice Sanjeev Sachdeva by Google which has contended that even if it disables or blocks a site in its search engine, that webpage will remain on the original website and would be accessible on other search engines. This view was also echoed by the court while hearing an NRI’s plea seeking he be “delinked” from information regarding a criminal case involving his wife in which he was not a party.

He has also sought removal from the records of the trial court order which mentions him. “If you post something on social media, it will never get deleted,” the court said and added if the man’s plea was allowed then all courts may have to destroy their records in matrimonial disputes.

In his petition, filed through advocates Rohit Madan and Zoheb Hussain, the NRI has claimed the online availability of the criminal case, despite it being settled amicably, affects his right to privacy and reputation apart from affecting his employment opportunities.

His petition has raised the question “whether data controllers or intermediaries such as Google, are required to delete information that is inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant if they receive a request for removal of such data”.

Claiming that the plea was not maintainable against it or its Indian entity, Google has said, “If a content is adjudicated to be defamatory or its goes beyond the principles of law of privacy, same can be directed to be removed pursuant to being adjudicated by the court. “However, there is no reason or justification for creation of a separate statute or legal framework under right to be forgotten.”

Google has also said that the petitioner should have approached the trial court, which had passed the order, to seek confidentiality and non-reporting of the order. The company has contended that the petition is not only “misconceived” but also “legally untenable”.

The court, meanwhile, asked the Centre to state its stand on whether such information can be delinked from the Internet and listed the matter for further hearing on 24 April.

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