On Tuesday, an Allahabad court issued notices to global search engine giant Google, its CEO Sundar Pichai and India Head Rajan Anandan for listing Prime Minister Narendra Modi among ‘top 10 criminals’ in the world. The court has also directed registration of a criminal complaint case against the company and its top officials.
The court was hearing a complaint filed by advocate Sushil Kumar Mishra. The next hearing on the case is scheduled for August 31.
According to a TOI report, the complainant said that a search for ‘top ten criminals of the world’ on Google’s search engine displays a photograph of Narendra Modi, labelling it a ‘huge disrespect to the Indian Republic’.
He claimed that he had written to Google earlier and asked them to remove Modi’s picture, but got no response. He also approached the local police regarding the matter.
When no action was taken, Mishra moved an application before the chief judicial magistrate. His plea was dismissed on November 3, 2015 on the grounds that it was a civil case. He then challenged the CJM’s order by filing a revision application in court, which was accepted and the order was passed.
In June 2015, however, Google had apologised for the search result and added a disclaimer in related searches that read, “These results don’t reflect Google’s opinion or our beliefs; our algorithms automatically matched the query to web pages with these images.”
At the time, Google had also issued a statement that read, “These results trouble us and are not reflective of the opinions of Google. Sometimes, the way images are described on the internet can yield surprising results to specific queries. We apologise for any confusion or misunderstanding this has caused. We’re continually working to improve our algorithms to prevent unexpected results like this.”
The company had clarified that Modi’s picture was being displayed due to an article in a British Daily and erroneous metadata.