ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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‘Right to be Forgotten’ in Indian Law

courts have yet not recognised the “right to be forgotten” under Indian law. However, there are good reasons to have one’s name dissociated from public records in the interests of privacy and similar concerns, as has been done in the context of victims of sexual assault. It is not an overarching right that should necessarily be available to all irrespective of context. In the absence of any privacy legislation, it is more likely to be a judicially developed remedy in specifi c cases.

A recent order of the Karnataka High Court prompted some news outlets to breathlessly claim that the high court had recognised the “right to be forgotten” (Shashiprasad 2017). Coupled with a case pending in the Delhi High Court that has sought such a declaration, it was presented as an innovation in Indian law (Mandhani 2017). This was an unfortunate misunderstanding of the order itself and the law in India. This column examines the debate around the right to be forgotten and whether it is something that should be upheld and enforced in Indian law.

The Karnataka High Court’s order is rather laconic and does not actually lay down any principle.1 The case has been filed by the father of a woman who had filed criminal and matrimonial cases against her husband and subsequently settled the same, continuing the relationship. It sought that the name of the woman be masked by the high court registry in the publicly available links on the internet to the orders in the litigation undertaken by the woman or her husband. This has been granted almost summarily and there is little or no discussion of any law or principles concerned.

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Updated On : 17th Mar, 2017

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