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Online search engines should check sex determination ads, says Supreme Court

Noting that online search engines Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are under an “obligation” to check pre-natal sex determination advertisements, the Supreme Court on Monday directed them to develop in-house methods to prohibit such content.

“ They [Google, Yahoo and Microsoft] are under obligation to see that the ‘doctrine of auto block’ is applied within a reasonable period of time. It is difficult to accept the submission that once it is brought to their notice, they will do the needful. It need not be overemphasised that it has to be an in-house procedure/method to be introduced by the companies, and we do direct,” a Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan said in an 11-page order.

Government’s stance

Solicitor-General Ranjit Kumar informed the court that Google, Yahoo and Microsoft had agreed to follow the law on sex determination and would not allow any advertisement or “publish any content” violative of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act.

‘Auto block’ technique

He told the court that the three companies had developed a technique called “auto block” which prohibited advertisements on sex determination.

Advocate Sanjay Parikh, appearing for petitioner Dr. Sabu Mathew George, seeking the court’s intervention in view of decreasing sex ratio, however, contended that the Centre should take more steps to see that the law of the land was complied with.


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