The Delhi High Court passed an order on the 20th of April 2023, restraining a few YouTube channels to publicize videos related to 11-years old Aaradhya Bachchan daughter of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan claiming false information about her mental and physical health.
The bench of Justice C.H. Shankar, in the due course of the proceedings strongly said that the defendants are restrained from disseminating any video related to the plaintiff or creating any other video upon similar contents in the future by all means.
Furthermore, the Court directed Google to disclose the identity of the channel owners to Bachchan’s family and also deactivate the URIs mentioned in the plaint with immediate effect.
Background of Aaradhya Bachchan’s plea:
Bachchan’s family strongly contended that they saw plenty of videos on YouTube proclaiming fake news that their daughter Aaradhya was suffering from illness and is currently hospitalised and one of them even claimed that Aaradhya has passed away.
Bachchans also said that these videos also purported that Aaradhya’s parents were not taking necessary care of the child and did not provide her required medical attention which lead to such an incident.
Although the plaint asserted that the 11-year-old child, Aaradhya Bachchan is in good health, she is not hospitalised and currently studying at Dhirubhai International School in Mumbai.
Directions and questions raised by the Court:
Justice C.H. Shankar also expressed that these platforms have a social responsibility and that is their duty to restrict such content being posted on their platform. Further, Justice also said that your policy must be faulty if you are not restricting these kinds of content on your platform.
The Court also opined that misleading information is being disseminated to the public from a platform that is provided by you therefore, you cannot walk away by saying that we are just providing a platform, and this cannot be tolerated.
The Court directed the Central Government to block access to any of such content or anything similar to it.
Furthermore, Google was also directed to show its policy in detail proving that the compliance has been made as per IT (Intermediary Guidelines Digital Media ethics) Rules or not.
Also read : https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/explained-the-amendments-to-the-it-rules-2021/article66079214.ece
The plaint stated that the reputation of Bachchan’s family was highly affected by such fallacious videos whereas their images were used by the miscreants to disseminate false information and generate profit.
The plaint also stated that a legal notice was sent to YouTube to remove these videos from their platform, to which YouTube responded that they cannot take such action on the allegations of defamation.
Furthermore, YouTube also stated that the content creators are untraceable and could only make them appear after a court order. Lastly, the court said, “Every child is entitled to be treated with honour and respect whether he/she is child of celebrity or a commoner.”, and disseminating anything related to the physical or mental of a child is prohibited by law.