The Supreme Court has asked search engines such as Google and Yahoo to adopt in-house mechanisms to identify and block content relating to pre-natal sex determination.
“The sex ratio is going down and this is likely to affect the prospect of human race”
Any content in contravention with the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PNDT), 1994 cannot be permitted
The Search engines opposed the court’s directive to filter content suggesting that it would open a pandora’s box.
“We have always been compliant and are supportive of removing paid content based on terms linked to gender selection tests. We have taken additional action to disable auto-complete predictions for relevant terms on our site and show a warning that tells users pre-natal gender screening or testing is illegal in India,” Google
- The PNDT Act prescribes three-year jail for advertisements relating to pre-natal determination of sex
Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to stop female foeticides and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. The act banned prenatal sex determination.
“If we wish to treat sex selective abortions as analogous to child pornography or revenge pornography, we will need to come up with a more sophisticated and accountable mechanism to remove it. The opaque system currently contemplated would undermine the Shreya Singhal judgment…,”
The of Director, Centre for Communication Governance, National Law University, Delhi opines.
Shreya Singhal versus Union of India
The Supreme Court, in Shreya Singhal versus Union of India, stepped to the fore with a delightful affirmation of the value of free speech and expression, quashing, as unconstitutional, Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act).
Section 66A had attained particular infamy after the arrests by the Mumbai police in November 2012 of two women who had expressed their displeasure at a bandh called in the wake of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray’s death.
Since then, several arrests have been made by different State police, of various individuals, for the most benign dissemination of online content.