Block all sex determination ads, Supreme Court tell search engines

In an effort to crackdown on gender discrimination against unborn baby girls, the Supreme Court earlier this week issued an order asking Google, Microsoft and Yahoo to take all steps necessary for blocking sex determination ads.

Gender-based selective abortion of fetus is a huge issue for India where the sex ratio between male and female has been growing bigger for a long time now. Hearing on the issue, the apex court ordered that if any sex determination ad existed on any search engine, they must be “withdrawn forthwith”.

In addition, the court also asked the search engines to update their policy page and the terms of service page by stating categorically that no advertises or promotions that violated the Section 22 of Prohibition of advertisement relating to pre-natal determination of sex (PC-PNDT) Act 1994 would be allowed on their platforms.

“As an interim measure, it is directed, the respondents, namely, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft shall not advertise or sponsor any advertisement which would violate Section 22 of the PC-PNDT Act, 1994,” a bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant said.

The order was issued after Google and Microsoft told the court that they weren’t advertising anything that can be deemed a violation of the PC-PNDT Act or any other Indian law. They also argued that the government’s affidavit on the matter was highly ambiguous as it only asked search engines to provide details about the steps they have taken to remove all those ads that violate the Act.

The court also stated that all matters pertaining to the government’s suggestion of blocking all such objectionable content as well as about providing the URL and IP addresses by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft would be heard on February 11, 2015.

 

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