Bigg Boss winner Ashutosh Kaushik seeks Delhi HC approval for removal of his online videos, pictures under 'right to be forgotten'

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Claiming ''right to be forgotten'', reality show celebrity Ashutosh Kaushik on Thursday sought a direction from the Delhi High Court to the Centre and Google that some of his videos, photos and articles be removed from various online platforms as they have a "detrimental effect" on his life.

Justice Rekha Palli issued a notice and asked the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Google LLC, Press Council of India and Electronic Media Monitoring Centre to respond to the petition which said the petitioner was invoking the 'right to privacy' and the 'right to be forgotten''.

The court asked the authorities to file their replies within four weeks and listed the matter for further hearing in December.

Kaushik, who had won MTV Hero Honda Roadies 5.0 in 2007 and the second season of Big Boss in 2008, sought direction to the Centre to take urgent steps to safeguard his reputation and dignity by removing his videos, photos and other related articles from various online platforms which are being facilitated by Google as the same is engendering a detrimental effect on his life and personal liberty.

Speaking to ETimes, Kaushik said that he had in the past approached several news channels and websites (containing his videos etc) and requested them to remove them. While some abided by his wishes, others refused. Thus, he was left no option but to take up the matter legally.

"I did something wrong in my past, I paid a price, I was punished for it, but personally, that is affecting me till now... My mother would feel bad more than me, she would ask me, 'Ye kya hai Aashu? (What's this Aashu?)' I could not bear my family suffering because of this and that's why I decided to go to court," News18 quoted the reality TV actor as saying.

The plea said the 'Right to be Forgotten' reflects the claim of an individual to have certain data deleted so that third persons can no longer trace them and it enables a person to silence the past events of his life that are no longer occurring.

"Thus, the 'Right to be Forgotten' entitles individuals to have information, videos or photographs about themselves deleted from certain internet records so that search engines cannot find them," it said.

The plea said that though the Constitution of India does not expressly recognise the 'Right to be Forgotten'', the Supreme Court has held that 'Right to Life' includes personal liberty and thus, right to privacy culled from Article 21.

'Right to be forgotten' is in sync with the right to privacy, which was hailed by the Supreme court as an integral part of Article 21 (Right to life) of the Constitution, it said.

Advocate Amit George, representing Kaushik, submitted that whenever his name is searched on Internet, photos relating to his past life are continued to be shown on various search engines including Google and urged the court for removal of all such posts, videos and photos relating to him.

Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, representing Google, said the right to be forgotten was not yet a law in the country.

The petition said Kaushik's valuable contribution in the television and big screen industry has earned him accolades, love and appreciation of people across India.

"However, despite attaining outstanding success in the silver screen industry, under deep agony the petitioner had to suffer utmost psychological pain for his diminutive acts, which were erroneously committed a decade ago as the recorded videos, photos, articles of the same are available on various search engines/ online platforms," said the petition filed through advocates Akshat Bajpai, Ishanee Sharma and Shreya Gupta.

The plea sought to direct the authorities to take effective and time-bound actions in removing all the posts, videos, articles written under Kaushik's name, which are irrelevant in the present times and are causing grave injury to his dignity and reputation.

He sought to avail the ''Right to be Forgotten'' to safeguard his life, liberty, dignity and reputation.

The photos, videos and articles relates to he being taken into custody for the alleged offence of drunken driving in 2009.

(With inputs from Press Trust of India)

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