A High Court gives life to the ‘Right to be Forgotten’ right

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Right to be forgotten
Right to be forgotten

Judicial Activism has roles to play in cases involving the ‘Right to be forgotten’. The High Court of Karnataka has witnessed one in its recent judgement. Justice Anand Bypa reddy passed an order and states “This is in line with the trend in Western countries of ‘right to be forgotten’ in sensitive cases involving women in general and highly sensitive cases involving rape or affecting the modesty and reputation of the person concerned.”

The right to be forgotten or the right of erasure or the right to oblivion means the same, which gives right to an individual to request the deletion or removal of personal data from the search engines. This rule has been used in Western countries. One landmark case in the European Union in 2010 was the case filed by Mario Costeja González, a Spanish Citizen who lodged a complaint against a Spanish Newspaper with the National Data Protection Agency and against Google Spain and Google Inc. The Court of Justice of European Union gave judgement in favor of the Spanish Citizen and held that  “ Individual have the right- under certain conditions- to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them. This applies where the information is inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive for the purpose of data processing (para 93 of the ruling)”. The details of the case can be referred http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/files/factsheets/factsheet_data_protection_en.pdf and the press release from http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-05/cp140070en.pdf .

However, in another case Italian Data Protection Authority denied this right to an Ex-terrorist to de-indexation of web page reporting about him as he had committed serious crime for which he cannot claim this right.Guidelines on the implementation of the right to be forgotten was adopted by European Privacy Authorities in 2014. A ruling released on Wednesday over a Japanese case in favor of Alphabet Inc.’s Google, however though not directly but referred to this right.

In an recent case the High Court of Karnataka after passing of the order on a criminal matter which was relating to a complaint given by the Petitioner’s daughter and filing a case in the High Court that her marriage never happened with defendant. The petition was to annul the marriage certificate and later the case was quashed on comprise between the parties. In the same case Petitioner’s daughter name was requested to be removed from the digital records of the High Court and also from search engines including Google as it affected her relationship with her husband and her reputation as well.The High Court ordered, “It should be the endeavor of the Registry to ensure that any internet search made in the public domain ought not to reflect the petitioner’s daughter’s name in the cause-title of the order or in the body of the order in the criminal petition.”, giving life to this right. However, the name of the petitioner’s daughter would certainly be reflected in the order copy was made clear.


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Monika T

I am a third year law student studying in Bangalore from Tamilnadu. Writing, Writing and Writing are the three things I like ! I believe life is short to accomplish everything on this planet, so stay positive and work keeping up the phase !!!!