Remove links to verdict in drug case, HC tells Google

The Delhi High Court has ordered search engine giant Google to remove links to a judgment passed by an Indian court acquitting an Indian-origin American citizen in a drug case noting that it may cause irreparable prejudice to the man’s social life and his career prospects.

Justice Prathiba M. Singh also directed web portal, Indian Kanoon, to block access to the judgment till the next date of hearing on August 20.

“Prima facie this court is of the opinion that the petitioner is entitled to some interim protection, while the legal issues are pending adjudication by this court,” the HC noted as it posted the hearing on the man’s plea to permanently remove access to the judgment for a date in late August this year.

The man, in his plea, stated that he is a professional of Indian-origin but an American citizen by birth. He claimed to be managing investments and dealing with portfolios of real estate.

When he travelled in 2009 to India, a case under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act was lodged against him. However, he was acquitted by a local court here in April 2011.

An appeal challenging his acquittal was also decided in his favour by the High Court in January 2013.

Thereafter, the man travelled back to the U.S. and pursued law at the University of San Diego School of Law.

He then realised that he is facing a huge disadvantage due to the fact that the court judgment was available on a Google search to any potential employer, who wanted to conduct his background verification before employing him.

He contended that despite him having had a good academic record, he is unable to get any employment to his expectations, and the reason for the same, according to him, is the availability of this judgment online.

Noting that the man was “ultimately acquitted of the said charges in the case levelled against him” the High Court said irreparable prejudice may be caused to him if the link to judgment was not removed.

The court has also issued notices to Google and Indian Kanoon and posted the man’s plea for further hearing on August 20.

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Printable version | Aug 5, 2021 5:55:42 PM |

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