Google reply sought over tech to hide content over which the court has passed orders
The Delhi High Court asked search engine giant Google whether it could devise a technology by which websites containing content over which the court has passed orders, wouldn’t show up in search results.
Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw posed the query after Google moved court seeking modification of its September 18 and 30 orders that directed the search engine to block URLs containing content that pertained to allegations of sexual harassment by contemporary artist Subodh Gupta.
The allegations were first displayed in an anonymous account called HerdSceneAnd on photo-sharing website Instagram.
On September 16, Gupta filed a civil defamation suit asking that “defamatory content” be taken down from Instagram, and the links of articles about these allegations be removed from Google search pages. He also sought damages worth Rs 5 crore.
“The Plaintiff has not been able to sell a single piece of work, since the defamatory posts were posted on the internet. Whereas, prior to this controversy the Plaintiff was selling numerous pieces of work monthly and each year acclaimed art galleries around the world would hold ‘solo art display exhibitions’ of Plaintiffs works,” Gupta’s plea read.
In an order dated October 14, Justice Endlaw said, “I have however enquired from the senior counsel for the applicant/defendant no 5 (Google), whether not it is technically feasible for them as a search engine to devise a technology so that whenever a Court order with respect to a particular content is passed, search engines such as the applicant/defendant no 5 (Google) do not lead to the impugned content on whichsoever website it may be contained and which are accessed through the said search engines.”
The court directed that the reply be filed by November 10.
Google’s application said that an order to remove links would have a “chilling effect” on the freedom of speech.