Delhi High Court Recognises “Right To Be Forgotten” In A Suit

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In a suit filed by an unnamed actress, the Delhi High Court has upheld and reiterated that ”Right to be Forgotten” and ”Right to be Left Alone” are an essential and inherent part of the Fundamental Right to Privacy.


The bench of Justice Asha Menon in an order passed on Tuesday, also allowed Plaintiff”s application seeking protection of the identity and retaining the confidentiality of the proceedings.

“In the circumstances and in view of the fact that the plaintiff is entitled to be left alone and to be forgotten, she is entitled to protection from invasion of her privacy by strangers and anonymous callers on account of such publication/streaming/ transmission of the suit videos by the defendants,” noted the court. The Plaintiff actress was represented by the TMT Law Practice firm.

Court also noted that there is no statutory Right to be Forgotten (presently it is only a draft provision under the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019), in view of the facts of the case where the Plaintiff”s explicit video clips are being circulated, the Court observed that there is a clear and immediate effect on the reputation of the Plaintiff, requiring the grant of interim relief to the Plaintiff.

The Court categorically held that the right to privacy of the Plaintiff has to be protected, ”especially when it is her personality that is being exhibited, and against her will”. While Plaintiff may have consented to the shooting of the impugned scene, the consent was expressly withdrawn as the producer of the Series had also removed the videos upon Plaintiff”s request.

The Court also relied upon Rule 3(2)(b) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, which obligates intermediaries, including search engines, to remove or disable access to content that is hosted, stored, published or transmitted by upon receipt of the complaint made by any individual/person in relation to any content which shows the individual in partial or full nudity or in some sexual act or conduct.

The order records that Google, the only contesting Defendant, argued that there is no statutory protection granted to the Plaintiff and that the Plaintiff has consented to the shooting of the Video, could not rely upon the right to be forgotten or Rule 3(2) of the Rules 2021 for a takedown of the video.

Noting that this is an issue of seminal importance, Justice Asha Menon has directed the intermediaries, including Google, to comply with the order and take down the objectionable videos within 36 hours. Further, the Court has also allowed Plaintiff to approach any other party not arrayed to the suit, on the basis of the order, requesting such party to remove the objectionable video.

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