The Supreme Court directed companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft to set up mechanisms to address complaints about content on gender selection kits thrown up by their Internet search engines. Such kits and ads are banned in India and promoting those is an offence.
- A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi passed the order despite opposition from the companies, which claimed that they would be flooded with complaints and consequential litigation.
- The in-house mechanisms that the companies need to build are in addition to a nodal agency that the court in last November ordered the central government to set up to deal with such ads and kits available online.
- You can’t violate laws of the country. You must be responsive to Indian law,” the bench said, acting on a public interest litigation which blamed gender selection tests for falling sex ratio in the country.
- The search engines argued that they were not violating Indian law and that they carried warnings in India that such searches were illegal under local law. They also argued that they automatically blocked words which involve the relevant terms.
- However, they have opposed any court attempt to get them to block all possible permutations and combinations of words which could be involved in any possible search on the ground that it was technically impossible.
- It would also have the unforeseen side-effect of blocking all other innocuous or informative information being sought about other subjects involving the same words, they argued.
- The court turned down their plea that such a sweeping ban would hamper genuine research and also access to any information.