Search engines Google, Microsoft and Yahoo informed the court that they would not sponsor any advertisement on pre-natal sex determination tests.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday while expressing serious concern over the fall in the female sex ratio in the country, asked the nodal agency set up by the Centre to take steps to prevent sex determination advertisements on the internet.
Passing this order a three-judge bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Kanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud said “The expert committee under the Nodal agency will take appropriate steps so that the mandate of the PNDT Act (Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994) is not violated and the female sex ratio which has fallen in the country shall not further fall down.”
The Bench passed this order on a batch of petitions filed by NGO Sabu George and others after hearing senior counsel Sanjay Parikh, appearing for the petitioners and senior counsel Abhishek Singhvi and K.V. Viswanathan, appearing for the search engines and Ms. Pinky Anand Additional Solicitor General for the Centre.
Search engines Google, Microsoft and Yahoo informed the court that they would not sponsor any advertisement on pre-natal sex determination tests. They said “if we discover something objectionable we will refer it to the nodal officer appointed by the Union Government and remove the contents if the nodal officer ask us to do so.” The Court took note of the submission of the Centre that nodal officers have been appointed in all the states to receive complaints and to act on it.
On behalf of search engines it was made clear that objectionable content on sex determination will be removed within 36 hours after getting report from nodal officers. If there is a complaint received by the search engines the in house panel will refer it to nodal officers.
It was submitted by Google, Yahoo and Microsoft that they were willing to block all commercial advertisements, but it would be impossible to block knowledge, which are not commercial in nature. Counsel pointed out that while searching for information some advertisements suddenly pop up and it will be impossible to stop them as any such move would amount to curtailing right to information and knowledge.