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Aaradhya Bachchan Moves Delhi HC: Why is the 11-Year-Old Suing YouTube Channels?

The minor has filed a petition, seeking Rs 20 crore in damages. What is the case about?

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Actor Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan’s daughter Aaradhya Bachchan has moved the Delhi High court against several Youtube channels for spreading misleading news about her.

During the hearing, the court appeared not only taken aback by the misleading information published about the 11-year-old, but it also reportedly pulled up YouTube for not acting against the content creators who started this.

The minor has filed a petition, seeking Rs 20 crore in damages from the channels in question but:

  • What exactly is her complaint about?

  • What did the High Court say?

  • And what next?

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'Fake News': What Was The Complaint About?

In a complaint filed through her father, Aaradhya Bachchan has alleged that the Youtube channels posted videos which:

  • Reportedly made claims about her being 'critically ill' even though she is a healthy school-going child

  • Accused the Bachchan family of not providing her with adequate medical care

One of the videos even reportedly went to the extent of using morphed pictures to depict that she had passed away.

In The Courtroom: What Did Aaradhya's Lawyer Argue?

Aaradhya's lawyer, Senior Advocate Dayan Krishnan, told the court that the videos breached the minor's right to privacy and went against the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines Digital Media ethics) Rules 2021 (as amended in 2022).

"In the age of social media, the reputation of a public person has become a child's play and here a child has to suffer," he argued, according to Bar and Bench.

The minor has filed a petition, seeking Rs 20 crore in damages. What is the case about?

Section 3 (b) of the IT Rules, which her lawyer cited during the hearing.

Krishnan also informed the judge hearing the case that they had sent a legal notice to YouTube asking them to take down these videos but the social media platform responded saying they do not take down content based on defamation allegations.

Google-owned YouTube added that the contact details of the those who had uploaded the videos were anonymous or untraceable, and could be made available only after directions from the court.

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What The Delhi High Court Has Said

"Every child is entitled to be treated with honour and respect whether he/she is child of celebrity or a commoner. Circulating information with respect to mental and physical health of child is completely impermissible in law."
Justice Hari Krishan remarked verbally

Besides this, Justice Krishnan also came down heavily on YouTube for not having a policy in place to tackle such videos:

"You have responsibility to see that proper information is disseminated. Why don't you have a policy in matters like this?" the court asked.

It also added:

"You are providing a platform on which misleading information is being provided to the public. How can this be tolerated?"

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So, What Next?

While the next hearing in the case is scheduled for 13 July, the court has passed three interim directions:

- Restrained the channels in question from displaying or publishing any misleading content about Aaradhya and has asked the government to block access to similar content

- Asked Google, which owns YouTube, to reveal the identity and contact details of the defendants and immediately take steps to deactivate the URLs mentioned in the complaint

-Directed Google, to set out its policy in detail, so that the court can ensure that it complies with the (Intermediary Guidelines Digital Media ethics) Rules 2021 (as amended in 2022).

(With inputs from Bar and Bench)

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