Supreme Court today accused online search engines Microsoft, Google and Yahoo of violating the law of the country by hosting advertisements pertaining to pre-natal sex determination and directed Centre to remove them at the earliest with help from technical experts.
A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra was acting on a petition filed by Sabu Mathew George who is a member of the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee set up by the SC in 2003 to inspect and report the implementation of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994.The plea said such advertisements flooded the internet after the Pre-Natal Diagnostics Technique (PNDT) Act, which came into force in 1994 to crack down on female foeticide, and banned the publication of such ads in the print media.
Call your technical people. They (search engines) need to be controlled. They are violating the laws of India. They are flagrantly violating the law of the country and it seems they do not have any respect for the law of this country, Justice Misra told Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar.
There can be no dispute that the respondent Google, Microsoft and Yahoo cannot put anything on their search engines that violate the law of the country, said the bench.
SC asked Kumar to instruct the government to hold a meeting of technical experts of the government with that of the internet search engines within a week’s time and made it clear that “nothing shall be there on the search engines that will violate the law of this country”.
"There can be no dispute that the respondents, namely, Google India, Yahoo ! India and Microsoft (I) Pvt. Ltd. cannot, in the name of intermediaries, cannot put anything that violates the laws of this country. Mr. Ranjit Kumar, learned Solicitor General of India submits that the Union of India would convene a meeting with the technical experts of the respondents along with the experts of the Department within ten days hence. In view of the aforesaid, the respondents are directed to attend the meeting on the date and time fixed by the competent authority of the Union of India. As agreed to by Mr. Ranjit Kumar, the petitioner shall also be invited to give his suggestions. A memorandum shall be filed before this Court indicating the steps to be taken so that nothing goes through the search engines that violates any legislation". states the Order
Worried about the skewed sex ratio in the country, the Supreme Court had earlier sought detailed affidavits from all states and the Centre on steps taken by them to curb female foeticide.
According to the latest estimates, five lakh female foetuses are aborted annually.
UNICEF, in a recent report, said that India has lost over one crore girls since 2007.
Eighty per cent of the districts in India have recorded an increasingly skewed sex ratio since 1991, the report said.
The Court has directed to list the matter on 27th July, 2016
Read the Order Here