20 April 2023 6:48 AM GMT
The Delhi High Court on Thursday restrained various YouTube channels from disseminating, publishing or sharing videos or any fake content relating to the mental and physical health of Aaradhya Bachchan, daughter of Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.Delhi High Court to hear a suit filed by Aaradhya Bachchan, daughter of bollywood actors Abhishek and Aishwarya...
The Delhi High Court on Thursday restrained various YouTube channels from disseminating, publishing or sharing videos or any fake content relating to the mental and physical health of Aaradhya Bachchan, daughter of Bollywood actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Delhi High Court to hear a suit filed by Aaradhya Bachchan, daughter of bollywood actors Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, against various YouTube channels over “fake news” reports regarding her health. #AaradhyaBachchan #DelhiHighCourt #Youtube pic.twitter.com/JlmubF66Ix— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) April 20, 2023
Delhi High Court to hear a suit filed by Aaradhya Bachchan, daughter of bollywood actors Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, against various YouTube channels over “fake news” reports regarding her health. #AaradhyaBachchan #DelhiHighCourt #Youtube pic.twitter.com/JlmubF66Ix
Justice C Hari Shankar observed that dissemination of misleading information relating to a child, especially as regards the physical and mental health, is completely intolerable in law.
The court also added that it has “zero tolerance” in matters where misleading content is published on such platforms relating to physical well being of a child.
“Every child is entitled to be treated with honour and respect, be it child of celebrity or of a commoner,” the court said, adding that no technicality can come in its way in such matters.
The court issued notice in the suit filed by Aaradhya Bachchan through her father seeking permanent injunction against various YouTube channels publishing videos and “fake news” reports regarding her health.
It was the minor’s case that though she's a healthy school going child studying in Dhirubhai International school in Mumbai, certain miscreants, merely for the sake of publicity, have been circulating videos on YouTube platform stating that she is critically ill.
The plaint stated that one of the videos even claimed that Aaradhya was no more and that various morphed pictures were also used in the videos.
The suit submitted that the videos in question breach the minor’s right to privacy and also are in violation of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
Issuing summons to nine YouTube channels and Google LLC, the court also issued notice on the application seeking interim injunction.
Perusing the images and clips annexed in the plaint, Justice Shankar said:
“Though it's not the first time such misleading information is circulated for celebrities, where the information relates to a child of tender years, it reflects a particularly morbid perversity on the part of the person circulating such information, with complete and resolute apathy to the interests of the child who is targeted.”
Observing that a prima facie case was made out in the favour of Aaradhya Bachchan warranting the grant of an ad-interim injunction, the court restrained nine defendants YouTube channels and their associates or agents from disseminating or further transmitting the videos relating to the minor’s health condition.
“The defendants no 1-9 are also restrained from publishing or sharing of any videos which are identical or similar in content to the videos falling subject matter of the said URLs. It is clarified that this would encompass all videos dealing with physical condition of plaintiff,” the court said.
The court has also directed Google LLC to place on affidavit the identity details of the defendant YouTube channels, including basic subscriber information and IP address information, available with it. It added that Google will immediately delist the videos in question.
“On the plaintiff bringing to Google's notice any other video uploaded on YouTube platform dealing with physical health of plaintiff, it will immediately proceed to take down the said URL. Plaintiff will however be required to bring this fact to notice of this court,” the court said.
The court also directed the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to block the access of the content uploaded by defendant YouTube channels as well as to any other similar videos or clips containing similar content.
During the hearing, the court also pulled up Google LLC over its failure to take action against uploading of misleading content on the platform against Aaradhya Bachchan.
“Why don't you have some Policy in these matters? When you're told these types of YouTubes are circulating, should there not be some way of handling these things?….You're a YouTube platform, don't you have some responsibility in such kind of things?…You mean to say you're only providing a facility for people to only misinform the public!!! You are providing a platform on which misleading information is circulating to public. How can such thing be tolerated?,” the court said.
The judge added: “Suppose someone uploads misleading content, before someone comes to you and makes a complaint, it's multiplicated and replicated thousand times to public, this clause in your agreement is useless… I'm not on defamation. When there's a video circulating saying that a child is dead when a child is alive and kicking.... If you have a zero tolerance regime then that means you yourself acknowledge...why should this not fall into that category? That means your zero tolerance policy is faulty.”
The court thus directed Google LLC to set out in detail its policy so as to know whether it remains in compliance with Rule 3(1)(b) of IT Rules 2021 and whether, after the amendment, it has effected any change in its policy to bring it in line with amendments brought in Rules.
“Google LLC is duty bound in law to ensure strict compliance with entire statutory regime relating to intermediaries with which it is governed which includes IT Rules 2021,” the court said.
The matter will now be heard on July 13.
Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, along with Advocates Pravin Anand, Ameet Naik, Vaishali Mittal, Madhu Gadodia, Siddhant Chamola, Shivang Sharma, Hersh Desai, Pallavi Bhatnagar, Megha Chandra, Harsh Jha, Sujoy Mukherjee and Tarini kulkarni appeared for the Plaintiffs.
Advocate Mamta Rani Jha represented Google LLC.
Title: MS. AARADHYA BACHCHAN AND ANR. v. BOLLYWOOD TIME & ORS.
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Del) 328