India’s apex court directs Microsoft and others to drop sex determination ads from search results

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The Supreme Court of India, the highest judicial forum under the Constitution of India, has directed Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo to block all pre-natal sex determination advertisements hosted by them, as per a report by LiveLaw.

The SC bench asked the search engines to do so within 36 hours of a nodal agency of the Centre pointing out to them each such advertisements. The nodal agency to be appointed will also be empowered to receive complaints from the general public. Once any violation is brought to the notice of the nodal agency, it shall inform the search engines and they, after receiving the information, are obliged to delete it within 36 hours and inform the nodal agency.

“Whether one is going to have a boy or a girl, that kind of information is not necessary in India. The sex ratio is going down in the country and we are concerned about that. Whether you are making money or not we are not concerned with that.”

According to the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994, sex determination of the foetus is prohibited in India. The PNDT Act came into force to crack down on female foeticide, and bans the propagation of pre-natal sex determination.

The apex court will further hear the matter on February 17 but the interim arrangement would continue till this issue pertaining to advertisements relating to pre-natal sex determination was debated upon before it.

The counsels appearing for the companies shared that they have complied with the earlier order passed in the matter according to the provisions of the act, however, contended that the matter requires further debate.