Right to be Forgotten

The High Court of Karnataka (‘Karnataka HC’) passed an Order, on January 23, 2017 in the case of Vasunathan v. The Registrar General, High Court of Karnataka and Ors.[1], regarding the rule of ‘Right to be forgotten’. In the instant matter, a writ petition was filed before the Karnataka HC seeking masking of the name of the petitioner’s daughter from all court records (including the cause title), which contained details of a previous marriage of the petitioner’s daughter that had been annulled, as well as court records of orders that had been passed in criminal proceedings filed by his daughter’s former husband. The masking was sought to protect her reputation in society and her relationship with her current husband.

The Court held that the Registry will endeavour to ensure that the petitioner’s daughter’s name was not reflected in any internet search in the public domain including any search within the order or in the body of the order apart from the cause title. This would be in line with the trend in many foreign jurisdictions where the principle of ‘Right to be forgotten’ is followed in sensitive cases involving women in general, and cases involving rape or affecting the modesty and reputation of the person concerned. The Court further held that where the website of the Karnataka HC is concerned, no steps need to be taken to anonymize the petitioner’s daughter’s name and accordingly, any certified true copy of the relevant order of the Karnataka HC will reflect the name of the petitioner’s daughter.

[1]     Writ Petition 62038 of 2016 (GM-RES), order dated January 23, 2017


Published In:Inter Alia - Quarterly Edition - April 2017 [ English Chinese japanese ]
Date: April 1, 2017