Acquitted men petition Delhi HC seeking ‘right to be forgotten’

Court asks Google, Centre to respond to plea for removal of incriminatng content

August 17, 2021 09:32 pm | Updated 09:32 pm IST - New Delhi

A view of the Delhi High Court. File.

A view of the Delhi High Court. File.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and search engine giant Google to respond to a petition by two businessmen, who have invoked the ‘right to be forgotten’, and sought the removal of certain articles relating to a criminal case lodged against them, from various online platforms.

Justice Rekha Palli, however, declined to grant any interim relief to the businessmen at this stage saying, “You have a right to privacy but we have to see how we can balance it”. The judge posted the case for further hearing on October 28.

Businessmen Jaideep Mirchandani, an NRI, and Siraj Amani, in their joint petition, said they were aggrieved by the certain online articles related to their arrest in a 2002 case, in which they were acquitted in 2016.

‘Haunted by information’

The petition filed through advocates Aman Vachher and Ashutosh Dubey, argued that even though the businessmen “had been honourably discharged by the competent courts, yet the alleged articles and wrong information available online against petitioners continue to haunt them”.

“The presence of case details/ judgement on the Internet gives the impression that the petitioner was involved with tabooed smuggling/ illegal activities,” the plea said.

“Over the years, the petitioners have worked to establish themselves again as a professional/ businessmen but the online details of their case continue to haunt him,” the plea said.

The petitioners said: “they have had relationships come to an end because [people] searched him online, saw their case and ruled them a criminal when in fact they were acquitted in all courts and by no stretch of imagination the petitioners can be said to be criminal”.

The plea said the businessmen have the ‘right to be forgotten’ or a ‘right to delink’ in the context of the facts and circumstances of the case. It said the petitioners have a right to ask the authorities to remove all the links related to him on the 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”.

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