X V. Union Of India And Ors. – Guidelines Have Been Issued By The Delhi HC For The Removal Of Offensive Content From The Internet

Court :
The High Court of Delhi

Brief :
This judgment deals with the guidelines which are issued by the High Court of Delhi for the cases related to the removal of offensive and objectionable content from the internet.

Citation :
REFERENCE: W.P. (Crl.) 1082/2020

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 20th April 2021

JUDGES: Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani


  • X (Petitioner)
  • Union of India and ors. (Respondent)

SUMMARY: The Delhi High Court set down rules to be trailed by courts while managing cases identified with the expulsion of questionable substance from the web to guarantee admittance to such hostile material is limited at the earliest and it isn't re-posted elsewhere by others.


  1. The principal complaint of the petitioner is that her photos and pictures that she had posted on her private web-based media accounts on 'Facebook' and 'Instagram' have been taken without her insight or assent and have been unlawfully posted on an explicit site called 'www.xhamster.com' by an obscure substance called 'Desi Collector' whereby the petitioner's photos and pictures have gotten hostile by affiliation.
  2. While certain different subtleties of the petitioner and the photos taken from her web-based media accounts have been recounted in the request, the equivalent is not being recorded here for reasons of security and privacy.
  3. The petitioner asserts that her online media accounts had the essential 'security settings' initiated but then these records were undermined, and her photos and pictures were taken and set on the obscene site.
  4. It is the petitioner's dispute that although her photos and pictures are generally unobjectionable, by putting something similar on an obscene site, the deviant respondents have ex-facie submitted the offense of distributing and sending material that requests to the scurrilous interests, and which will in general debase and ruin people, who are probably going to see the photos, which is an offense under section 67 of the Information Technology Act 2 0.
  5. The petitioner likewise contends that the wayward parties have connected subtitles to her photos, which act falls inside the mischiefs of other penal arrangements of the IT Act and the Indian Penal Code 1860.


The following was analyzed by the court - Whether the posting of photographs in a pornographic site prima facie amount to an offense under the IT Act?


  1. Section 67 of Information Technology, 2 0: It defines the punishment for publishing or transmitting any obscene material in an electronic form.
  2. Section 87 of Information Technology, 2 0: It gives power to the Central Government to make rules.
  3. Section 79 of Information Technology Act, 2 0: It gives exemption from liability of intermediary in certain cases.
  4. Article 19 of the Indian Constitution: It protects certain rights regarding freedom of speech.


  1. The guidelines were set by Justice AJ Bhambhani while managing a matter wherein a woman's photos were transferred on an obscene site by certain lowlifes and despite court orders, the substance couldn't be eliminated in total from the internet, and "deviant parties cheerfully proceeded" to re-post and divert something similar to different sites.
  2. The court guided the police to guarantee the offensive substance was taken out and guidelines were additionally given to web search tools, similar to Google, Yahoo, and Bing, "to around the world de-record and de-reference" the offensive substance from their list items.
  3. It guided web crawlers to try to utilize computerized instruments, to proactively recognize and internationally impair admittance to any substance which is indistinguishable from the offensive substance, that may show up on some other sites, "The web never forgets and the web always remembers," the court said alluding to the case and added that it can't surrender to "awaiting round of errant parties sidestepping orders by re-posting irritating substance across the internet, in a demonstration of insubordination and contumacy".
  4. According to the guidelines, when a particular matter precedes a court and it is fulfilled that a quick redressal was needed at the interval stage, it might give a bearing to the site where the offensive substance is facilitated to eliminate the equivalent forthwith and most extreme inside 24 hours of accepting the judicial order.
  5. "A guideline ought to be given to the site on which the offensive substance is facilitated to save all data and related records identifying with the offensive substance, so that proof according to the offensive substance isn't vitiated, in any event for a time of 180 days or such longer period as the court may coordinate, for use in examination," the court said.
  6. It said a guideline ought to be given to the inquiry engine(s) to impaired admittance to the offensive substance by ''de-ordering'' and ''dereferencing'' it in their recorded query items and the delegate should follow such a direction within 24 hours of accepting something similar.
  7. "The directions given should likewise command the concerned mediators, regardless of whether sites, to attempt to utilize supportive of dynamic checking by utilizing computerized devices, to recognize and eliminate or handicap admittance to any substance which is by and largely indistinguishable from the offensive substance that is topic of the court request," it said.
  8. It said for a request coordinating the evacuation or access disablement of offensive substance to be viable even inside India, a web search tool should impede the query items all through the world since no reason would be served by giving such a request on the off chance that it has no sensible possibility of forestalling hopeless mischief to a prosecutor.
  9. The court said web search tools are as of now utilizing essential robotized devices to forestall creating connections to youngster erotic entertainment and disdain discourse, which instruments can similarly well be utilized in making a court request, like the one in the current case, implementable and successful. "None of this would force upon the site, online stage or search engine(s) any commitment to for the most part screen content or to mediate the wrongness of any substance or work as an earlier restriction or a sweeping boycott or oversight of substance by and large," it said.
  10. The guidelines said that directions ought to be given to the law implementation organizations to acquire, inside 72 hours, from the concerned site all data and related records, identifying with the offensive substance.
  11. It said bothered party ought to likewise be allowed, on the strength of a court request, to tell the law implementation organization to eliminate the irritating substance from some other site, online stage, or search engine(s) on which same or comparable offensive substance is discovered to show up.
  12. "Upon such warning by the distressed party, the law implementation organization will inform the concerned site, online stage, and search engine(s), who might be committed to agree with such solicitation.
  13. "..and, if there is any mechanical trouble or another issue with so agree, the site, online stage or search engine(s) may move toward the concerned court which passed the request, looking for an explanation yet solely after first consenting to the solicitation made by the distressed party," the court said.


In the accompanying case, it said posting of photos in an obscene site by all appearances adds up to an offense under the IT Act and guided the petitioner to outfit recorded as a hard copy to the Investigating Officer, of the FIR stopped on her grumbling, all accessible data identifying with the offensive substance inside 24 hours of accepting the current judgment, if not previously done as such. "The Delhi Police is coordinated to eliminate/incapacitate admittance to the offensive substance, the Web URL and Image URL of which would be outfitted by the petitioner as above, from all sites and online stages, forthwith and in any occasion inside 24 hours of receipt of data from the petitioner.

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Preksha Goyal
on 23 April 2021
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