Sex determination: India

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Information on sex selection

SC rules out blanket ban on online content

AmitAnand Choudhary, SC rules out blanket ban on web content on sex determination, April 12, 2017: The Times of India

The Supreme Court said that it could not direct online search engines to block all texts pertaining to pre-natal sex determination tests as it would deprive researchers, academicians and students valuable information on the issue.

Although the apex court has repeatedly expressed concern over the declining sex ratio in the country and passed a slew of directions for implementation of Pre-Conception & Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act to curb the practice of sex determination and selective abortion, it expressed reservation in directing the internet giants to remove all information on sex selection as it would violate the people's right to know. “If you block all information from coming then people would be deprived of the information and ultimately knowledge would suffer. There should be some restrictions and advertisements should be banned as per law but not all information. We cannot curtail the people's right to know,“ the bench said.

Internet giants, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, told the bench that the companies had removed all offensive advertisements but it was not possible to block generic search.They contended that only commercial advertisements were not allowed as per PCPNDT Act and it was difficult to “auto block“ all texts and literature on the subject.

“I have to search billions of pages to find out the word prenatal test to block them. The literature on the subject is needed for the students and researchers and a blanket ban is not feasible. PCPNDT talks about only advertisements and not text,“ senior advocate Abhis hek Manu Singhvi, appea ring for Google India, said.

Microsoft and Yahoo also contended that the companies had no supervisory or editorial control over the contents uploaded by users on their websites and there was no mechanism to auto block them. They said they were not allowing advertisements on sex determination in line with the law.

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