Right to Be Forgotten; Whether Applicable In India: Asks Delhi HC

Right to Be ForgottenThe Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and Google that does right to privacy include right to delink from the Internet the irrelevant information.

Justice Manmohan sought the responses of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Google India Pvt. Ltd. and IKanoon Software Development Pvt. Ltd. on a plea of an NRI seeking that he be “delinked” from information regarding a criminal case involving his wife in which he was not a party.

“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”.

the Petition raised.

The petitioner has sought the relief saying it would affect his employment opportunities as companies often search about prospective employees on the internet and as the criminal case pops up on searching his name, it might give an impression that he was involved in it.

The petitioner, in his plea filed through advocates Rohit Madan and Akash Vajpai, has said the criminal case involving his wife and his mother against each other pops up when his name is searched on the Internet.

“Petitioner got to know that anyone who searches his name on Google will find the aforesaid judgment (of the criminal case) on the second number of search result and consequently giving the impression to everyone that was involved in some sort of criminal proceeding in India,”

the plea said.

The plea has also said,

“petitioner tried to contact Respondent 4 (IKanoon) and made a request for taking down the aforesaid judgment through letter dated January 25, 2016 as petitioner wanted this order to be expunged, from website of Respondent 4.”

It also said that the petitioner had contacted Respondent 2 and 3 (Google Inc and Google India) and sent an email for removing the concerned Uniform Resource Locator from the search result.

The petition has also referred to a European Court of Justice verdict ordering Google “to remove the links related to a person on its website and effectively read a ‘right to be forgotten’ or ‘right to delink’ into existing European Union data protection law”.

Right to Be Forgotten

The right to be forgotten is a concept discussed and put into practice in the European Union (EU) and Argentina since 2006.

The issue has arisen from desires of individuals to “determine the development of their life in an autonomous way, without being perpetually or periodically stigmatized as a consequence of a specific action performed in the past.”

There has been controversy about the practicality of establishing a right to be forgotten to the status of an international human right in respect to access to information, due in part to the vagueness of current rulings attempting to implement such a right.

There are concerns about its impact on the right to freedom of expression, its interaction with the right to privacy, and whether creating a right to be forgotten would decrease the quality of the Internet through censorship and a rewriting of history, and opposing concerns about problems such as revenge porn sites appearing in search engine listings for a person’s name, or references to petty crimes committed many years ago indefinitely remaining an unduly prominent part of a person’s footprint.