Aaradhya Bachchan case: Delhi HC grills YouTube for fake reporting on her health, personal life
In the recent order dated April 20, 2023, in the case of Ms. Aaradhya Bachchan and Anr v Bollywood Times Ors., Aaradhya Bachchan, who is the daughter of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Bachchan, and the granddaughter of Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bachchan, filed a case through her father (Plaintiff 2) against individuals who have been circulating videos on YouTube falsely claiming that she is seriously ill, despite being a healthy school-going child. The dissemination of these videos breaches Aaradhya Bachchan’s right to privacy and violates the intellectual property rights of the Bachchan family, including the copyright in their images and pictures. Upon examining the images provided in the complaint, the court has deemed it intolerable in the eyes of the law to spread misleading information about a child’s physical or mental well-being.
As an organization, we welcome this extremely progressive order which is the first of its kind in protecting the rights of a celebrity child who is a minor. We do believe and agree that writing false content is “unnecessary and insensitive”. With the rise of internet and the availability of smartphones and social media in almost all hands, we have witnessed a humongous rise in ‘keyboard warriors’ who post and write whatever they wish to while being anonymous. This has also led to the rise in Mobile Social Cyberbullying on which necessary action has to be taken by the authorities.
Invisibility gives people the courage to go places and do things that they otherwise wouldn’t. This power to be concealed overlaps with anonymity, because anonymity is the concealment of identity. However, the Hon’ble Delhi High Court has also directed Youtube to disclose all contact details to the plaintiffs. The next important aspect is how the Hon’ble Court interpreted the amended IT Rules (Rules 3 (1) (b) (iii) of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
Google LLC which represents Youtube submitted that they are an intermediary and do take steps when the individual in question complains to the organization. But herein the onus and responsibility are now shifted on their shoulders as being a platform they have to be responsible and compliant with the rules and take immediate action whenever required. This order ensures that an individual or organization’s role can no longer be limited to being a mere onlooker of the information which is uploaded and they are required to be more proactive in nature.