Search engines to file response regarding advertising information against the provisions of PCPNDT Act

Supreme Court: In a case where the respondents, namely, Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt. Ltd., were accused of advertising information against legal provisions under Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act,1994, the counsel for appellant, Sanjay Parikh submitted that Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication and Information and the competent authority of Department of Health and Family Welfare are supposed to work harmoniously for enforcement of provisions of the said act the absence of which would highly affect the already skewed sex ratio of the country.

Meanwhile the Group Coordinator, Cyber Laws Formulation and Enforcement Division, Department of Information Technology submitted an affidavit pleading helplessness on part of search engines. It said that the search engines only provide service of indexing information when a search is made by user, while the said information is provided by independent third parties for which the service provider cannot be held liable. Third parties are based in different countries and the information is directed towards global population, where Indian laws do not apply, thus blocking of such websites is not feasible. The appellant replied that other countries have been successful in blocking content against the laws through various mechanisms.

The Supreme Court gave time to respondents to file their response while directing solicitor general to appear with a technical expert from the Department of Information Technology and deferred the matter for hearing on 15th December 2014. Sabu Mathew George v. Union of India, 2014 SCC OnLine SC 970, Order dated 4/12/2014

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