Does right to privacy include right to delink from the Internet the irrelevant information, the Delhi High Court has asked the Centre and Google.
Justice Manmohan sought the responses of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MOC & IT), Google Inc., 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.
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.
His petition has raised the question “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 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 (URL) from the search result.
According to the petition, it was requested in the email that “material detrimental to the petitioner must not be the first hit in the search result as he has no role in the aforesaid case and because it was giving a bad name to the Petitioner which will further jeopardize his prospective employment opportunities, being an NRI living in Dubai employed with prestigious organisation.”
“This issue pertaining to the criminal case in which his name has appeared had been fully resolved and therefore that reference to his name in the aforesaid criminal case is now entirely irrelevant,” the petition has contended adding that not removing the same “violates his right to privacy” and also “creates a bad social image” about him.
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 delink broadly, provides that an individual may be allowed to control the information available about them on the web by removing such information in certain situations,” the petition has said.