Kerala High Court Issued Notice To Google, The New Indian Express On Plea To Redact Name And Images Of Man Acquitted In Cheating Case; Right To Reputation


The Kerala High Court in the case SSH (name withheld) v. Union of India & Ors observed wherein the plea is moved by a person who is being acquitted in the case of cheating and is seeking to redact the name of him and other identities from the public domain.
The Single bench headed by Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan in the case observed and has issued the notice to the Central, State Governments, Google and The New Indian Express.
The petitioner in the plea stated that he is being registered that despite of having been acquitted in the case of cheating, there being several news articles and images of him on the internet with the heading ‘Man Held For Handing Over the Invalid Cheque to Shop’.
It has also been claimed by the petitioner in the plea that despite of him having been approached the respondents for redacting his name and images from the internet, they turned a blind eye to his request. Therefore, it has been averred by him that the display of his name and images on the internet amounts to violation of his right to privacy and right to reputation which are bring guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
It has also been claimed by the petitioner in the case that the reputation being an inseparable element of a personality of an individual and the same cannot be allowed to be tarnished in the name of right to freedom of speech and expression.
Adding to it, he stated that the right to free speech does not mean a right to offend.
The plea also stated that the reputation of a person is neither metaphysical nor a property in terms of mundane assets but it being an integral part of his sublime frame and a dent in it is a rupture of the dignity of the person’s, negates and infringes fundamental values of citizenry right.
It has also been emphasized by the petitioner that the ri emphasizes that the right to free speech and expression enshrined under Article 19(1)(a) would have to be balanced with the right to privacy and reputation enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Further, the petitioner also averred that the judgement of acquittal grants the accused the right to get an automatic expungement of his name from all records, and particularly for those who being in the domain of the public.
The plea moved also submitted that there being no doubt with regard to the fact that the moment the Judge records an order of acquittal and that the identity of a person as an accused is completely wiped out.
The petitioner seek the name of him and the images on online portals to be redacted and a direction to be issued to Google to unindex the links in the web pages and also to secure his right to privacy.
The counsel, Advocate Sandeep R.N., B. Muhammed Shaheel, and Advocate Keerthi Vijayan moved the present plea.