1. SC orders Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to remove online sex-determinations ads

SC orders Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to remove online sex-determinations ads

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a strict directive to all online search engines over illegal advertisements and information on sex determination tests.

By: | New Delhi | Published: November 17, 2016 6:00 AM

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a strict directive to all online search engines over illegal advertisements and information on sex determination tests. It asked popular search engines like Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft India to remove such content within 36 hours of receiving a complaint. It also directed the Centre to constitute a nodal agency to keep a tab on keywords used on search engines to enable a system of ‘auto-block’ that would black out such information.

“If it’s found that there are certain words which facilitated sex determination, then those words should be deleted in 36 hours,” a bench headed by justice Dipak Mishra said.“We direct the Union of India to constitute a nodal agency which would give advertisements on TV, radio and in newspapers….that if anybody comes across anything which identify a girl or a boy (at pre-natal stage), it should be brought to the notice of the nodal agency.

Once it is brought to the notice of the nodal agency, it shall inform the search engines and they, after receiving the information, are obliged to delete it within 36 hours and inform the nodal agency,” the bench said while fixing the matter for further hearing on February 17.

The apex court had earlier said search engines are under an obligation to check pre-natal sex determination advertisements and they should develop an in-house method to prohibit such content.

The government told the bench that the search engines had agreed to follow the law on sex determination and would not allow any advertisement or “publish any content” violative of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act or PC-PNDT Act.

Rapping online search engines like Google, Yahoo and Microsoft for patently violating Indian law, the apex court had earlier asked the Centre to hold a meeting with its technical experts and the search engines so as to find a solution to check such ads and information on pre-natal sex determination being hosted by them. It had also directed the search engines to strictly comply with Indian laws and block advertisements on sex determination of a foetus.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Sabu Mathew George in 2008 seeking a blocking or withdrawal of advertisements relating to pre-natal determination of sex on popular search engines.

Holding such advertisements to be violative of the PC-PNDT Act, 1994, the petition claims that using the internet for promoting or communicating about the practise of undertaking sex determination or sex selection was prohibited and punishable under the Act.

The 1994 Act was enacted to stop female foeticides and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. It banned pre-natal sex determination.Sex determination, though illegal, is still practised in India, which is grappling with a severe male-female ratio. India’s child sex ratio dropped from 964 in 1971 to a low of 918 in 2011, according to UN data.

Between 2001 and 2011, the decline was seen in over two-thirds of the districts in the country. Numbers show that the problem is worse in urban areas. In 2011, Delhi, the National Capital Region had one of the lowest child sex ratios among states, with 871 girls born for every 1,000 boys.

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  1. E
    Nov 17, 2016 at 7:24 am
    It seems we are going to era of ban and dictatorship. It is really unfortunate that censorship on media is being dictated. Any web site informing about latest development in Gender selection/ designer baby/ PGD/ Blood test etc. will become short of adver. So it seems that a restriction to knowledge, research work and awareness about latest medical technologies and development is being imposed. From this sort of act influential, rich and people having access to foreign countries will hardly get affect.
    1. E
      Nov 17, 2016 at 4:10 am
      It tantamount to short of censorship. Are we are going to era, where what we have to see or read is being directed by court/ government etc? Failure of executive agencies is being curbed through different means. Very question arises, why such PNDT Act is required? It is in fact result of so many failure of our different executive agencies. Had they been not failed or not corrupt, such acts would not have been required. One Nirbhaya or Saharanpur case occurs and tilts the faith of public in executive agency and which results in such activities, which are socially not good. However those who are affluent, can go tot foreign countries, they will hardly get effect by such order. It is plight of poor and middle cl, who only get suffer.A total lookout on issue need to be seen. This short of myopic vision will hardly help in modern era.

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