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

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Claiming the Right to be Forgotten

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The right to be forgotten (hereafter, RTBF) is often considered as a fallout of the right to privacy. The internet can be considered fluid because nothing is ever forgotten (the general stance). The RTBF is contested to get the content on the internet that is obsolete and detrimental to one’s reputation deleted/erased or forgotten. The RTBF can be traced from the case of Google Spain SL, Google Inc v Agencia Española de Protección de Datos, Mario Costeja González (2014). For the first time, it was officially recognised through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in addition to the right to erasure. It stated that the personal data must be deleted immediately when the data is no longer needed for the original intent. Moreover, if the data subject has withheld their consent because there subsists no other valid reason or the data subject has objected and there are no overriding reasonable reasons for the processing or whether, in order to conform with a contractual requirement under European Union law, deletion is obligatory. In addition to deletion, in compliance with Article 19 of the GDPR, the controller shall notify all data receivers of any rectification or deletion and must exhaust all the necessary steps. This came to be known as a blueprint for countries to debate on the RTBF in their own jurisdictions.

The RTBF has been an area of curiosity and debates in the high courts before finding its way through the landmark privacy judgment pronounced by the Supreme Court of India. In its nascent stage, it has been neglected by the high courts. For instance, in Dharmraj Bhanushankar Dave v State of Gujarat, the petitioner was acquitted in a previous criminal matter by the High Court of Gujarat and the judgment was supposed to be non-reportable. However, Indian Kanoon published the judgment on their web portal. Dismissing the petitioner’s plea and rejecting the appeal, the Court held that the high court is a court of record, and the copies of documents in any civil or criminal proceedings and that of the judgment of the high court can be given to third parties. The Court declined to consider the petitioner’s contention that the dissemination of the judgment breached his right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. Yet again, in Laksh Vir Singh Yadav v Union of India and Ors, the complainant registered a demand that Indian Kanoon and Google must delete the complainant’s name from their search results (criminal case between his wife and mother) as it affected his work prospects.

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Updated On : 17th Jan, 2022
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