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  • Writer's pictureChambers of Daksha Kumar

The Right to be Forgotten

‘The right to be forgotten’ allows an individual to legally delete their personal information from the internet. This law protects an individual's right to keep their information private.

This act is considered to have been first adopted by the European Union. This law is still being recognised in India. More than eight applications for the deletion of personal information from the internet are pending in the Delhi High Court. In recent months, however, a court has ruled that it is an essential aspect of privacy and every individual has the right to protect their privacy.

In India, however, there is no such legislation. But this act has been embraced as a necessary aspect of privacy in many countries throughout the world. The EU adopted this act under article 17 of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which permits an individual to erase personal data from the internet that is no longer essential.

In 2015, Russia implemented this law, allowing anyone to erase personal information linkages from the internet. Turkey and Siberia, on the other hand, also acknowledge this conduct to some extent.

The Indian government claims that this act is covered in the personal data protection bill, which was introduced in parliament on December 16. ‘The right to be forgotten’ legislation is still awaiting recognition in India, and it is hoped that the bill will be enacted soon and the act will become a law.

There are still some cases of ‘the right to be forgotten’ that are being heard in court. Let's examine how the courts ruled in these cases.

In May 2019, Justice Pratibha M. Singh of the Delhi High Court heard a petition from the managing director of a media organisation seeking the removal of a news story alleging sexual harassment against him under the MeToo movement. The justice restrained the republication of the news stating that ‘the right to be forgotten is the fundamental right to privacy.

In 2017, the Karnataka High Court issued an order prohibiting the use of women's names in a 2015 judgment. The Orissa High Court also allowed an objection to the rape suspect's obscene images and videos on Facebook.

Some judicial cases for the removal of undesirable information from the internet are still pending. It also has a petition from an actor who wants the photographs and footage of his drink-driving incident removed from the internet.

However, the petitioners' lawyer warned that removing information off the internet could jeopardise the public's right to know and also cause issues with the running of social media firms.

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