Winner of television reality shows like MTVRoadies 5.0 and Big Boss, Ashutosh Kaushik has moved the Delhi High Court to invoke ‘Right to be forgotten.’ In an unusual petition, the former actor has sought removal of all the content from Google related to certain incidents “erroneously committed” in his past.
Accepting the plea, the Delhi High Court has ordered the Centre and Google to file their response. A notice has been sent to the ministry of information and broadcasting, Google LLC, Press Council of India and Electronic Media Monitoring Centre by Justice Rekha Palli.
As per reports, the aforementioned are required to respond to the petitioner’s invocation of the “Right to privacy and to be forgotten” within four weeks. The matter has been listed for further hearing in December.
Controversies around Ashutosh Kaushik
Kaushik had gained immense popularity after winning the MTV Roadies season 05 and subsequently Salman Khan starrer Bigg Boss. However, his fame was short-lived as he was embroiled in matters of drink and drive and hooliganism.
In 2009, Kaushik was arrested for allegedly driving in an inebriated state and for not wearing a helmet. He once again made the headlines in 2013 for being involved in an altercation at a cafe in Mumbai.
Kaushik had managed to bag some roles in TV serials and movies between 2012 and 2016. However, Kaushik’s plea argued that despite his success, he suffered “deep agony” and suffered “utmost psychological pain for his diminutive acts, which were erroneously committed a decade ago as recorded videos, photos, articles of the same are available on various search engines/online platforms.”
Ashutosh Kaushik’s plea
Kaushik’s advocate Amit George argued that whenever the former’s name is searched on the internet, photos and videos relating to his past life pop up in various search engines including Google. To disallow further jeopardization of the petitioner’s reputation, he urged the court to order the removal of all such material including posts, videos and photos.
Other advocates representing the petitioner highlighted, “Right to be forgotten reflects the claim of an individual to have certain data deleted so that third persons can no longer trace them.”
“Thus, the right to be forgotten entitles individuals to have information, videos or photographs about themselves deleted from certain internet records so that search engines cannot find them,” the petition added.
Kaushik who seemed haunted by the decade-old memories, in his petition stressed on the fact that people should not be indefinitely reminded of their past mistakes.
“Even when information is lawfully in the public domain or originally shared by the individual with his or her consent, people have a right to make mistakes without being haunted by them indefinitely,” read the plea.
The petition referred to Article 21 of the Constitution of India that guarantees its citizens “Right to life”, which in turn includes “Right to privacy and live with dignity.”
However, it is imperative to note that the Right to be forgotten’ is not yet a law in India as informed by Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, representing Google.
What is ‘Right to be forgotten’?
The ‘Right to be forgotten’ allows for a person to seek the removal of his personal information from the internet database if the information in question is of no use or relevance.
This right is upheld in various countries like the UK and by organizations such as the EU.
As per reports, while ‘Right to be forgotten’ is not yet a law in itself in India, the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 allows a petitioner to make use of this right and restrict or prevent the continuing disclosure of their personal data with certain conditions.