SC order on sex selection ads – UPSC GS2

What is the order?
  • The Supreme Court ordered search engines Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing to immediately stop displaying advertisements relating to pre-natal sex determination tests.
  • It also directed the Union government to constitute a nodal agency to monitor and trigger search engines to crack down on online pre-natal sex determination advertisements.
What is the case?
  • The apex court was hearing a petition filed by Dr. Sabu Mathew George in 2008 in the background of increasing instances of female foeticide.
  • The petition had contended that pre-natal sex determination tests continue with impunity despite being made illegal in 1994.
  • It also had highlighted that search engines violated Indian laws by displaying prenatal sex determination advertisements.
What was SC’s order?
  • The nodal agency should receive complaints about illegal online advertisements under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994.
  • It should communicate the tip-offs to online search engines which would delete these advertisements within 36 hours of getting the information.
  • This interim arrangement will continue till it took a final decision on the continued existence of online sex selection ads.
  • In the previous order, the SC had concluded that it was the liability of these search engines to check for pre-natal sex determination advertisements and develop in-house methods to prohibit such content.
  • As follow up to this order, the search engines had developed a technique called “auto block” which prohibited advertisements on sex determination.

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