Invoking the Right To Be Forgotten, the Delhi High Court has issued notices to the Ministry of Communication & IT, Google, and Times of India over a plea filed by two businessmen who were acquitted in a forgery case.
They are seeking the removal of concerned judgment and other related articles available on the internet. The court has now adjourned the matter to October 28.
“The petitioners have “Right to be forgotten” or “Right to Delink” in the context of the aforesaid facts and circumstances of the case. The petitioners have a right to ask the respondents 2 to 4 to remove all the links related to him on its search index, which is irrelevant and obsolete and jeopardize petitioners’ prospective employment/ business opportunities and make them suffer difficulties in life for no fault of their own,” the petition said.
“This acts as deterrent to the potential clients of the petitioners and is hampering the career growth and various opportunities of the petitioner. Besides, the petitioners have to face every day the social stigma on account of the perception of being involved in Smuggling/ Illegal activities,” the plea stated.
How many of you know about the term ‘Right To Be Forgotten’? We speculate that most of you don’t know that it exists. The stigma and suffering not ends with the acquittal when there is a lot of information available over digital platforms. Many reported that even after acquittal, they faced backlash and also have to miss a lot of job opportunities.
The sands of the internet do not forget the footprints that we leave. The information available on the internet takes a lot of time to get erased. The situation comes with a lot of agony and social stigma for the people who were acquitted in some legal matters due to the availability of such information on digital platforms.
What is Right To Be Forgotten?
What is meant by right to be forgotten? Is right to be forgotten a fundamental right? How do I apply for right to be forgotten? You might be curious to know all about right to be forgotten because this sounds interesting and a right you might not have heard before (chances are there).
Right to be forgotten falls under the purview of Right to Privacy, which is said to be governed by the Personal Data Protection Bill (still pending before the Parliament).
In 2017, the Right to Privacy was declared a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in its landmark verdict in Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. vs Union Of India And Ors. The verdict holds that the right to privacy is protected as a fundamental right under Article 14, Article 19, and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
“The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution,” ruled a nine-judge bench.
Is Right to Be Forgotten A Law?
Is right to be forgotten a fundamental right in India? No, the Right to be forgotten is not a law yet. However, it is recognised by the Indian courts in some of the judgments. It could become a law when the Personal Data Protection Bill is passed.
RTBF has been recognised as a statutory right in the European Union under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Under the right to be forgotten, a person can delink, limit, delete, or correct the disclosure of their personal information from the internet, search, databases, websites or any other public platforms, once the personal information in question is no longer necessary, or relevant.
Famous Judgments Regarding Right To Be Forgotten
You might be looking for some right to be forgotten examples to have more clarity about the procedure. So, here are some right to be forgotten judgments.
- In January 2017, Karnataka High Court accepted the right to be forgotten request of a woman who had annulled her marriage.
- Big Boss and Roadies winner, Ashutosh Kaushik moved Delhi High Court with a plea seeking removal of photographs, videos, and articles related to his arrest under right to be forgotten.
- In July 2021, Madras High Court acquitted a man of all criminal charges and issued the directions to redact his name from all court orders.
Can Right To Be Forgotten be a Threat to Freedom Of Expression?
This ‘right’ can be a difficult thing in this digital era.In 2018, CIMA published Information Not Found, a report that examined how the so-called “right to be forgotten” threatened the ability of journalists to research and investigate public interest news stories. Some opined RTBF to be a threat to freedom of expression and speech. Therefore, both should be properly balanced.
Why is the right to be forgotten important?
In this digital era, information spreads like fire. Internet is a powerful tool to send a piece of information to millions of users in just one click and this may not be a pleasant thing for people who are falsely accused in some cases or wrongdoings This is really difficult to ask every media house to erase that data from the websites. So, here a person can approach the court to exercise the right to be forgotten in order to remove all the information from all digital platforms.
Madras High Court
“The right to be forgotten cannot exist in the sphere of administration of justice particularly in the context of judgments delivered by courts,” Justice A Anand Venkatesh.