New Delhi: Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt Ltd, which runs 'Bing.com' search engine, on Monday submitted before the Supreme Court that it never advertised any pre-natal sex selection technologies on its website in violation of Indian laws.
The internet giant, in its fresh additional affidavit, however, said it will be "unfair and illegal" to expect that it will block all contents which can be reached through its search engine. Moreover, blocking contents of others is not "technically feasible", it said.
The response was filed by the internet firm before a bench of justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit which has been hearing a batch of PILs filed by Sabu Mathew George and NGO Voluntary Health Association of Punjab on issues including decreasing numbers of girl child in the country.
Earlier, the court had said that an effort has to be made to ensure that websites like Google India, Yahoo India and Microsoft Corporation (I) Pvt Ltd do not show contents in violation of the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act that prohibits sex determination of a foetus.
"The answering respondent (Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd) does not and has never advertised any sex selection technologies/gender selection tool kits on 'Bing.com' or MSN search engines, as alleged or at all, either in violation of the PC-PNDT Act...," the affidavit said.
The affidavit also referred to the manner in which its search engine operates.
"By way of an analogy, I state the activity performed by the search engines is similar to the index prepared by a library, where a reader can find the books that deal with the subject matters of interest of the reader, pursuant to looking up to the index. The difference is here--the index is to 'books' the library does not own or possess," it said.
The affidavit said the petitioner was confusing search
results, which show the general content of the internet, with advertising.
"The answering respondent submits that section 22 of the PC-PNDT Act prohibits advertisement and it has already put in place a policy to ensure that, since that alone is within the control of the answering respondent. While the answering respondent can be expected to do things which are in its control, it will be unfair and illegal for the petitioner to expect the answering respondent to block all contents, which in any event is technically not feasible," it said.
Earlier, the court had expressed unhappiness over a 2010 affidavit of the Centre that it cannot block such contents on websites as pre-natal sex determination is not an offence in other countries and moreover, these sites have servers outside India.
It had also asked an official of the Department of Information and Technology to assist Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar in finding a way to stop illegal contents on websites.
Meanwhile, the bench granted time to NGO Voluntary Health Association of Punjab to file its response to the information provided by Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi on the sex ratio in these states.