Delhi High Court: In a suit filed by Aaradhya Bachchan (plaintiff), granddaughter of yesteryear actor, Amitabh Bachchan, seeking an injunction against various YouTube channels reporting claims regarding her physical and mental health, C Hari Shankar, J., restrained various YouTube channels from disseminating any misleading information stating that reporting news of such kind for an 11-year-old child is against the basic tenets of the law.
The main grievance relates to various videos circulating on social media, especially on YouTube claiming ill-health of minor Aaradhya Bachchan and few reports suggest even her death with her morphed images. The suit was filed by Aaradhya Bachchan through her father Abhishek Bachchan seeking permanent injunction and directions to Youtube and Union to take down objectionable content and videos as these videos are in violation of the plaintiff’s privacy and Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The Court noted that every child is entitled to be treated with honour and respect whether he/she is a child of a celebrity or a commoner. Circulating information with respect to the mental and physical health of a child is completely impermissible in law. The Court remarked that the videos of the child reflect a morbid perversity on part of those who are circulating with complete apathy to the interests of the child in question.
The Court restrained defendants 1-9, the identified YouTube channels from creating, publishing, and uploading videos regarding false information on the health and well-being of Ms. Aaradhya Bachchan that violates her privacy and brings disrepute to the Bachchan family.
The Court also directed YouTube to immediately delist the 24 videos that were identified in the plaint and also provide details (such as contact details, email ids, etc.) of these defendants to the Plaintiffs.
The Court further directed the plaintiff to intimate YouTube if they come across any unidentified entities, who may create, publish or disseminate these or similar videos and YouTube must ensure to immediately take it down
The Court directed defendant 11, MeitY to ensure that the offending and defamatory videos are made inaccessible on the internet
The Court also directed Google LLC to clarify its policy and demonstrate compliance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines Digital Media ethics) Rules to demonstrate that it has changed its policy to comply with the amendment that was made.
The Court directed the Central Government as well to prohibit access to all of the information as well as to any other content that is comparable to the offending videos forming part of the subject matter of this suit.
[Aaradhya Bachchan v Bollywood Time, 2023 SCC OnLine Del 2268, decided on 20-04-2023]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Advocates for plaintiff: Mr Dayan Krishnan, Senior Advocate with Mr Pravin Anand, Mr. Ameet Naik, Ms. Vaishali Mittal, Ms, Madhu Gadodia, Mr. Sidhant Chamola, Shivang Sharma, Mr. Harsh Desai, Ms. Pallavi Bhatnagar, Ms. Megha Chandra, Mr. Harsh Jha, Mr. Sujoy Mukherjee and Ms. Tarini Kulkarni from Anand and Naik.