Supreme Court direction to Search engines to block pre-natal sex determination ads

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed all online search engines to remove illegal advertisements, information on sex determination tests within 36 hours of receiving a complaint.

A two-judge bench led by justice Dipak Misra also directed the companies like Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft Corp. India Pvt. Ltd that operate search engines to remove advertisements for sex determination of foetus within 36 hours of receiving the complaint.

“The nodal agency will take complaints regarding such advertisements and take it up with the search engines,” the court said.

The court’s order came on a public interest litigation filed by petitioner Sabu Mathew George seeking the court’s intervention in the light of the declining female sex ratio in the country.

The court had issued a notice to the search engines in August, asking whether the “auto-complete” feature for keyword search relating to pre-natal sex determination was viable. The court had also identified 22 terms for which the search engine companies were asked to automatically block advertisements.

In an interim measure in March 2015, the court had directed Google, Yahoo and Microsoft not to advertise or sponsor any advertisement which would violate the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994.