BENGALURU: Our Constitution guarantees important fundamental rights, such as right to equality, freedom among others. Apart from these, some Western countries have embraced several more, and 'Right to be Forgotten' is one such which is in trend these days.
In a rare case, the Karnataka High Court recently passed an order along similar lines to protect the dignity of a woman.
The High Court, while passing an order on a criminal petition, directed its Registry to make sure that any internet search made in the public domain would not reflect the woman’s name.
The court observed, “This is in line with the trend in Western countries of 'right to be forgotten' in sensitive cases involving women in general and highly sensitive cases involving rape or affecting the modesty and reputation of the person concerned.”
The woman’s father had approached the court seeking directions to mask the woman’s name in an earlier order passed by the High Court. The petitioner had said that his daughter feared grave repercussions if her name was associated with her earlier case and it would affect her relationship with her husband and also her reputation in the society.
Earlier, she had filed a complaint against a man stating that she was not married to him and the marriage certificate should be annulled. However, she later agreed to withdraw her case after both parties arrived at a compromise. Following the woman's undertaking, the High Court had quashed the case against the accused man.
Later, the woman's father approached the High court praying to direct the High Court Registrar General to remove the name of his daughter in the digital records maintained by the High Court and that it should not be visible in any of the internet search engines, including Google and others.
The woman was apprehensive that if anyone searched for her name on the internet, the result would throw up her name in the case and that would have a repercussion on the relationship with her husband and her reputation in the society.
After hearing the plea, the High Court ordered, “It should be the endeavour of the Registry to ensure that any internet search made in the public domain ought not to reflect the petitioner's daughter's name in the cause-title of the order or in the body of the order in the criminal petition.”
The court, however, made it clear that as far as the HC website is concerned, such a step need not be taken. If a certified copy of the order is applied for, the name of the petitioner’s daughter would certainly reflect in the copy of the order....