ChatGPT : a new legal challenge? by Dr.Debarati Halder

Since November 2022, several stakeholders including those in the education sector have been widely discussing about the new Artificial intelligence based  chatbot ChatGPT.[1] Not so long ago we got to see few AI based human assistance apps Alexa and Siri. These were also connected with internet of things. They answered many questions, guided clients for accessing information of any type and generated any cyber security and data privacy issues. In the legal profession we got to see possibilities of AI based judges. Many lawyers and human-right activists were strongly against this while some actually felt triumphant thinking that AI based judicial work will be accurate and would be giving needed justice to the parties. ChatGPT has created new sensation: not only because it is solving test series[2], but also there are possibilities of probable clash with copyrights of many contents. 

As many resources on ChatGPT had suggested, it works on human fed information and attempts to answers put up before it. There are few implications for this:

  1. For academic evaluations, the chatbot is fed the information and probable assessment questions. The success depends on how accurately and how quickly the AI system matches the correct answers.
  2. Students may misuse the system and possibilities of wide range copyright violation cannot be overruled.
  3. The chatbot is fed about probable legal issues and the nearest legal solutions for the same. The scope of said legal solutions may be expanded by accessing several other contents available on the internet. This may actually make the chatbot more accurate than an attorney farm or a practitioner whose research team may need several days to prepare the brief to support the client. In short, , human emotional intelligence may be lacking while counselling clients, especially in cases of private injuries.
  4. The chatbot interacts with human beings for assistance. Even though the makers of the chatbot claims that it has better data security, at present all AI based human assistance apps are questionable for providing data privacy and security. There is no guarantee that the personal data including sensitive personal data will be protected.

ChatGPT is heavily supported by LargeLanguage Model (LLM) model tools and this may necessarily have a third-party moderator of the information/data. Within four months of its inception, usage of ChatGPT has become questionable from all sectors including the legal sector: consider this thought provoking article on digital literacy training of the judiciary touching upon the usage of ChatGPT in delivering judgements in the USA[3]: Gutiérre raises question on probable errors in the judgement as judges may not know to check the authenticity of the  information received from ChatGPT. Gutiérre suggests for development of a policy to use the AI based human assistance tools for legal professionals and I completely agree with the same.

Let us not forget that emotional intelligence plays havoc in providing healing touch for cases falling in the category of personal injury. Chatbots or any other robot legal researcher would not be able to map and match the emotional injury with physical injury and quantity of damages and compensation. Similarly an assessment designed to evaluate the positive learning process of a student can not achieved properly if the AI based assistance tools are used without any proper guidelines. It is time that we humans tame our machine intelligence  by setting certain guidelines first. Otherwise the precious human intelligence for creating artificial intelligence will be used only for destruction and overpowering the good by evil intentions.

[1] For more understanding, see Accessed on 21.02.2023

[2] See Rosen Kalhan (2023) . ChatGPT passes MBA exam given by a Wharton professor. Published in on 24-01-2023. Accessed on 25-01-2023

[3] Juan David Gutiérrez(2023) ChatGPT in Colombian Courts:

Why we need to have a conversation about the digital literacy of the judiciary. Published in on 23-02-2023 . Accessed on 23-02-2023

Moonlighting and data security issue for children by Dr.Debarati Halder

Photo courtesy : Internet

Off late several companies had become extremely concerned for moonlighting by their employees. Moonlighting is a term that signifies involving in a second job for profit  while being in a full time employment. The 2020 covid pandemic has increased the tendency for moonlighting for employees in several companies including the tech companies as most of the workplaces reduced the salaries of employees and this caused huge financial tension for many. Legally moonlighting may or may not be safe for many: many European countries, US, Canada, Australia etc, may allow employees for moonlighting. Even academicians including teachers, university professors may also choose for a second job when they are off duty. But the problem arises when the employees go for moonlighting with the company data.

Why and how Moonlighting becomes an offence and who are the victims? in 2022, Tesla terminated an employee for showcasing and discussing  certain automobile features in his YouTube channel. Interestingly running a YouTube channel had not been considered as moonlighting even though such activities may help the YouTuber to earn profit.  But this was considered as offensive by the company because the employee actually criticised certain products using the company data which only he could access being an employee. Now consider the other side of the coin: if this employee had secretly sold the company data to other competing company for profit or may had been engaged in moonlighting works like consumer preference analysis, product marketability analysis, business analysis or even employee data analysis with the help of the confidential data of his employer company, he would have been definitely subjected for legal liabilities and he may even have the chance for being jailed.  This may no longer remain simple harmless moonlighting. Rather, it may involve data privacy breach by the concerned employee because he may  have  violated the integrity and confidentiality of the data owned and maintained by the companies.

Here we have to understand the types of the data and the types of the ‘victims’ that may be affected:

First victim would be the company itself as the company secrets including trade secrets would be affected. The designs, company logo, manufacturing process, company policies for marketing, specific software etc, may fall within the meaning of company’s intellectual properties which many employees fail to acknowledge or may not know. 

The second typology  of the victims has a wider scope than the first: it includes individuals and their  personal data that may have been collected by the companies in the name of customer data, patient data, government beneficiary data, banking related data etc. Presently almost all companies have become body corporates who collect certain kinds of personal as well as sensitive persona data: Tesla itself collects customer data that may include sensitive personal data like birthdates, banking information, social security numbers etc. There are several big tech companies that may be involved directly or indirectly involved  in government data collection and  processing work.

Moonlighting with such data may become extremely dangerous for the second type of the victims, especially children. There are 5 basic reasons for this:

  1. Children’s data including health data, school data, parent’s financial data etc, may be misused by different types of perpetrators. This may also aide in physical space kidnapping, abduction and assault on the child.
  2. Profiles of children may be sold to criminal gangs operating in deep and dark nets for online child sexual abuse related purposes. Often job seekers or individuals looking for moonlighting opportunities may fall in the trap of such gangs who may make them sell such sensitive personal data for a handsome amount. Here the criminal gangs may finely create a very much convincing agreement for the job seekers that in reality may not have much legal value as employer-employee contract. But the language of such agreements may be so finely constructed that it may actually make the employee fall in legal trouble if the entire operation is unearthed by the law enforcement agencies while the actual criminals may escape the clutches of the law.
  3. Child and adolescent victims may not be aware of the victimhood unless they are made aware of the data breach by their peers or by the acquaintances of their parents. Resultant, their online and offline security may be hugely breached and it may be beyond repairing especially for children who may come from socio-economically challenged backgrounds.
  4. Such kind of illegal moonlighting may enlarge the risks of ransom attacks for hospital, schools, public welfare data etc.
  5.  Companies or stakeholders who are engaged in the outsourced work of data collection, processing may also have to face legal action for not providing proper security to the confidential data. In such cases these cases may be held primarily liable as the burden of proof for innocence and strict diligence complied with may fall on the companies.

What is the way out then? EU General Data Protection Regulation has emphasised on the issue of privacy, security and consent for data collection, data processing, data archiving etc. Even though EUGDPR does not mention about moonlighting with confidential data as an offensive behaviour, it however focuses on right to privacy, data collection and processing rules etc.  We also have to look into several international conventions including the 2001 Budapest cybercrime conventions which throws light on content related online crimes, intellectual property rights related crimes and online child abuse related issues. All these prohibit data theft and unethical profit gain from misuse of data. Moonlighting with public, personal and sensitive confidential personal data falls off from the line of ethical moonlighting on the basis of skills of the job seeker/employee and thereby it becomes a punishable offence. But we must note that moonlighting with data involving children can be extremely dangerous because immediate harm to children may not be repaired by restorative and reparative justice quickly. But there is still a silver lining behind the vicious cloud of malicious data and activities. Companies and body corporates who primarily deal with public and personal data of general individuals can strengthen their data protection mechanism by applying stricter surveillance on the access on the said data, purpose of access to such data and mapping footprints of the usage of such data. They may also apply stricter policies against moonlighting especially against those employees who may directly deal with confidential data. Further, punishment for such kinds of moonlighting may not be restricted to termination and other penal actions by the primary companies alone. Such employee must also be made liable for breaching the data confidentiality of the children and he must be made to cooperate with the criminal justice machinery to track the data, pull down the data from vicious domains and also should be responsible for payment of compensation. Above all, courts must also consider banning them from using multiple profiles and they must be put under surveillance for their usage of information and communication technology.

Gender and internet : Cyber law magazine for women news update May 31-June 08, 2022

Derbyshire Police community security officer who was in charge for safeguarding children from cyber crimes gets 27 months sentence from Derby Crown court for filming, possesing and unauthorized distribution of images of children in the changing rooms.

Pakistani nationals get arrested for secretly filming women in Turkey and sharing objectionable images of them on social media.

Nepali women strengthen their protest against sexual exploitation through #metoo movement on the social media and share horrific details of such exploitation over social media platforms.

Male university student from Nigeria posing as American widow pleads guilty in the court for defrauding and impostering for fraudulent monetary gain from victims. Court awards conviction and strict punishment.

বৈদ্যুতিন যুগে ভাষা দিবসের কিছু চিন্তা ভাবনা

দেবারতি হালদার

বেশ অনেকগুলো বছর ভাষা অধিকার নিয়ে অনেক বিশ্লেষণ করার পর কিছু জ্ঞান উপলব্দি করেছি : ভাষা অধিকার একমাত্র মাতৃভাষায় চিন্তা প্রকাশের অধিকার মাত্র নয়. সেই ভাষা যেন এমন ভাবে ব্যবহার না করা হয় যা অন্য মানুষের চিন্তা ধারাকে আঘাত করে. এটা অধিকারের থেকেও দায়িত্ত্বকে বেশি করে বাড়িয়ে দেয়।  বিগত অনেক বছর ধরে এই রকম অনেক কমপ্লেন দেখে নিজেও শিখেছি কোন ভাষা কিভাবে প্রয়োগ করলে ভাষা অধিকার টি খুইয়ে ফেলতে হয়. তবে এই অধিকার খুইয়ে ফেলাটা বেশির ভাগ ক্ষেত্রে সরকারের বিরুদ্ধে প্রতিবাদের ক্ষেত্রেই আমরা বেশি দেখে থাকি। এই নিয়ে কত বাগ -বিতন্ডা। কোন প্রতিবাদী ভাষা আইনের চোখে বেআইনি নয় আর কোন প্রতিবাদী ভাষা সত্যি ই বেআইনি এ নিয়েও বিচারকদের কম মন্তব্য  নেই. প্রতিটি দেশের নিজস্ব আইনি বিশ্লেষণ আছে এই নিয়ে। সে থাকলেও আমরা অনেক সময়েই দেখি সেই আইনি বিশ্লেষণ অনেকটাই এক ধাঁচের হয়. মহিলাদের বাক স্বাধীনতা নিয়ে অনেক রিসার্চ হচ্ছে। আমার রিসার্চ একটু অন্য রকম. আমি ঠিক বাক স্বাধীনতা নয়, ভাষা স্বাধীনতা আর দায়িত্ব নিয়েই মেতে থাকতে ভালোবাসি। বেশ কিছু দিন আগে এই রকম দু-একটি কেস দেখছিলাম:  বিবাহিত পুরুষ অধ্যাপক তাঁর দায়িত্বাধীনে অনুসন্ধানরতা  কন্যাসমা ছাত্রীকে অত্যন্ত উত্তক্ত করেছিলেন এই ভাষা স্বাধীনতার সুযোগ নিয়ে। বৈদ্যুতিন মাধ্যমে ক্রমাগত একটি বা দুটি শব্দ, ছন্দ এবং ছত্র  ছাত্রীকে পাঠাতেন। সেই শব্দ, ছন্দ ও ছত্র  গুলি এতটাই ভয়াবহ হয়ে উঠলো যে ছাত্রীটিও আর সহ্য করতে পারলোনা। সংখ্যায় গুনলে এগুলি অতি   নগন্য। কিন্তু সেই সবই, ছন্দ , ছত্রের মধ্যে নিহিত অর্থ টি শালীন নয়. অধ্যাপক যখন দেখলেন ছাত্রী টি কোনো সাড়া দিচ্ছেনা , তিনি কিছু নির্বাক অত্যন্ত সংক্ষিপ্ত ভিডিও পাঠাতে শুরু করলেন।  এবারে সেই ছাত্রীটি শালীনতা হানির অভিযোগ আনতে বাধ্য হলো. অধ্যাপক পাল্টা জবাব দিলেন : যখন শব্দ বা ছত্র গুলি দেখেও সে চুপ করেছিল , মানে কোনো রকমের অস্বস্তি প্রকাশ করেনি, তখন কি করে ধরে নেওয়া যাবে সে এগুলি পছন্দ করেনি?  পাঠক /পাঠিকা  , এই ধরণের কেস খুব চেনা চেনা লাগছেনা? অধ্যাপক- ছাত্রীর জায়গায় সহকর্মী, বন্ধু, কাছের বা দূর দম্পর্কের আত্মীয় যে কাউকে বসাতে পারেন। ভাষা যে কত শক্তিশালী হতে পারে তা এই ধরণের তথাকথিত “নগন্য” কেস থেকেও বুঝতে পারবেন সবাই। ভাষার অপব্যবহার (বিশেষত মহিলাদের  বিরুদ্ধে ) টেনে আনতে পারে অনেক রকম আইনি বিপদ। ছোটদের কথা টা আজ আর বললাম না. আজকে একটি বিশেষ কেস দেখে মনে হলো এই বিষয়েও কিছু বক্তব্য প্রকাশ করা উচিত। কেরালা হাই কোর্ট রায় দিয়েছেন যখন কোনো স্ত্রী তাঁর স্বামীর বারংবার বারণ অমান্য করে তৃতীয় অচেনা পুরুষের সঙ্গে সময় অসময় না দেখে ক্রমাগত অবান্তর ফোনে কথা বলে যান তখন সেই ব্যবহার মানসিক নির্যাতনের পর্যায়ে পরে. না না! মনে করবেন না আমি আবার ফেমিনিজম নিয়ে বুলি কপচাবো। কিন্তু এই এক রায় সেই স্বামীদের ক্ষেত্রেও প্রযোজ্য হওয়া চাই যাঁরা তাঁদের স্ত্রীদের বারণ  অমান্য করে অন্য মহিলার সঙ্গে ক্রমাগত অবান্তর কথা বলে যান. একটু ভেবে দেখুন: এই কথা বলা যদি কর্ম ক্ষেত্রে জন্যে, কাজের জন্যে জরুরি হয় তাহলে আইনি বুমেরাং টি যিনি অভিযোগ করছেন তাঁর দিকে  ঘুরে যাবে। আর নাহলে জোর করে নিজেকে প্রেমিক প্রবর ভেবে নেওয়াটা অত্যন্ত বিপজ্জনক হয়ে যাবে। ভাষার আর  দোষ কি? ভাষাকে যে যেভাবে ব্যবহার বা অপব্যবহার করতে চাইছে দায়িত্বটি তাঁর।

এবার সময় এসেছে আমরা সবাই ভাষার অপব্যবহার নিয়ে একটু আলোচনা করি, ভাবি আর সেই বিবেচনা গুলি আমাদের পরবর্তী প্রজন্মকে জানাই। কারণ তারা আমাদের জানবার আগে অনেক কিছুই জেনে গেছে। 


Gender and internet : Cyber law magazine for women monthly news update :1st January -2nd February 2022

Photo courtesy : Internet

Court denies bail for the creator of the offensive Bulli Bai app in India .

Clubhouse App case shows women from particular communities continue to get targeted by defamatory comments. Court grants bail to one accused who pleaded that he was arrested on mistaken identity of app creator.

Federal Decree Law No 34 of 2021 strengthens Federal Law 5 of 2012 to increase punishment for cyber crimes against children in Dubai especially in image based abuse cases.

Romance fraud surges up in Ireland due to pandemic and it is now in a never ending situation.

Singapore penal law takes strict action against users who upload/create obscenity, nudity, sexually explicit contents. User of OnlyFans, an internet content subscription service gets charged by police for uploading allegedly obscene contents. Research shows several Onlyfans users aim for earning money by uploading nudes, sexted photos.

Madras High court in India observes that CCTV cameras in spas infringe the right to privacy and bodily autonomy.

US law makers look for penalizing cyber flashing with the new draft Bill on Online safety Bill with minimum two years of imprisonment.

Nottingham man faces jail sentence for using tools for spying, hacking, voyeurism, infringing privacy of women and children.

US based Woman & husband charged for illegal laundering and stealing bitcoins worth more than $5bn

What is meant by “Website”? by Dr.Debarati Halder

We are in 2022 and the pandemic has not left us yet. News channels are tirelessly sharing updates on surging cases, further closure orders for schools, virtual hearing of the courts etc. Where are we sharing the information? From where are we getting some information? It is “websites”. There are millions of websites hosted and also managed by different stakeholders who share different information on WorldWideWeb. Strangely, we do not find the definition of the term website in majority of legal documents but when we see from the perspective of cybercrimes, we cannot avoid the role of websites as websites provide a platform for sharing contents which may be offensive.

The term website is connected with the concept of world wide web which was invented in 1989  by British scientist Tim Barnes Lee who worked on Interlinking of webpage and websites as a scientist with European organization for  nuclear research (CERN). Lee’s work led to connect creation of worldwide web to attributing ip address, domain names, .ccreation of hypertext markup language , uniform resource locator (URL) etc. The major reason behind creating the web was to facilitate the demands of information sharing between the government stakeholders including the military, scientists in the universities and other institutes all over the world for the purpose of information sharing, gathering and strengthening national security including cyber security infrastructure and military intelligentsia. However, very soon in the millennium tech companies started appearing to create, host, maintain etc., of websites which were interactive, passive or hybrid types of websites and which could be used for either e-commerce purposes, or for interaction, peer to peer networking and information sharing or for all. At this juncture it became necessary to explain the term “website”. Even though, we do not get to see any uniform definition of the term in specific legal documents, the term has been attempted to be defined by different stakeholders. It may be broadly explained as collection of hyperlinked pages over the web and related contents which may be identified by common domain name and which may get published on world wide web by some web server.

Now we are dependent completely on different kinds of websites and we manage our homes and offices through these websites. Presently we get to see many legal persons, i.e., companies which may create their own websites which may be used mainly for information sharing, e-commerce purposes and interacting with people. There are different technology companies like Meta (earlier known as Facebook), specifically created for sponsoring, creating, maintaining websites and webpages who also collect data of the users/subscribers/.  We have heard a lot about liability of the websites. But websites in general are inanimate. They become legal persons only when they are operated by people who may create websites, connect to web pages, get a domain name for the websites, publish contents and facilitate peer to peer networking and/or share information as a passive website. Liability of the websites therefore depend on their activities that are decided by the creators/administrators/distributors/users of the websites.

Intermediary and Website are not the same: Even though there are several laws and policy guidelines have been made worldwide to consider liabilities of the websites including The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, we have not yet seen the proper definition of website.  Even though S.2w of the Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008) defines the term intermediary as any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores or transmits that record or provides any service with respect to that record and includes telecom service providers, web-housing service providers, search engines, online payment sites, online auction sites, online market places and cyber cafes”, the same should not be confused with the term ‘website’. An intermediary however can create, maintain a website.

Please note: Please  do not violate the copyright of this writeup. Please site it as Halder Debarati (2022) What is a website? Published in on 03-01-2022

Gender and Internet : Cyber law monthly magazine for women news update :30th November, 2021 -31st December, 2021

Image courtesy: Debarati Halder

American video game developer Riot Games agrees to pay $100m in a class suit for gender discrimination for various offences including allowing to develop email chain to rate the comapny’s hottest women employees, showing unsolicited images of male genitalia to women employees by their bosses and colleagues.

Philippines Department of Justice brings out draft of guidelines for cases of Gender-Based Online Sexual Harassment (GBOSH) under Republic Act (RA) No. 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act to facilitate evidence gathering and case building for supporting victims of gender abuse online

Madras High court in Tamil Nadu, India takes suo motu cognizance in a case where lawyer was seen in objectionable position with a woman while virtual hearing was going on. Court also orders for prohibiting of circulation of the said clip on internet.

YouTuber in Nepal gets arrested by police for creating and sharing obscene contents on YouTube and a Kathmandu court had remanded him. The police has initiated case against him primarily under Electronic Transactions Act, 2008.

Man gets 13 year jail term in Pakistan for alluring woman with job offer and then creating and sharing obscene photographs on social networking sites and extorting money from victim.

SriLankan woman living in Cyprus gets trapped in romance scam by Indian National from Tamil Nadu, India. Police arrested the accused and initiated case proceedings under Indian Penal COde and Indian Information Technology Act, 2000(amended in 2008).

Indian woman uses honey trapping for extorting money from men. The woman allegedly allured men and then filed false rape cases on the basis of communications over the phone and physical meetings for extorting money. Police arrested the woman and had initiated investigation under different legal provisions and is also scanning the electronic devices for further evidences.

Pakistan female actor snapped smoking inside her car and the video goes viral attracting trolls and abusers. Cybercrime wing of Federal Investigation Agency, Sindh, Pakistan, warns every one to not to share the video without consent of the actor.

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Gender and Internet : Web magazine for Cyber law for women News update for October 25- November, 30. 2021

#orangetheworld #Endviolenceagainstwomen #stopcybercrimesagainstwomen Image courtesy : UN Women

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The celebrity ‘Drug on Cruise case’ of  2021 and the ‘may be considered’ Right to be Forgotten

Prof(Dr).Debarati Halder*

On October 3, 2021, India woke up to the big news of celebrity drug on cruise case where the key accused was a 23 year old young adult man, Aryan Khan. The news media revealed that Khan, the elder son of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan, had been arrested by the officer of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Mumbai and was charged for knowingly consumption, sale and purchase   of narcotic substances under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The family of the arrested immediately tried for bail, but was not successful. The legal technicalities revealed that Khan had to approach the special NDPS court for bail once the judicial magistrate who was hearing the matter of arrest of Khan rejected the bail plea on ground of non-maintainability of such bail matter in courts other than NDPS courts. Khan was first put in the custody of  NCB for a brief period after which he was sent for judicial custody, which in plain words may mean that he was put up in a regular jail meant for accused who has not yet been convicted by the courts. The NCB reportedly argued against his bail stating that being the child of a celebrity father, Khan may have every opportunity to access to narcotics, he may be able to get involved in the selling and purchasing of the prohibited substances.  Later when the matter went to Bombay High Court for appeal against the rejection to bail, the WhatsApp chats between Khan and his friends were also pulled in as the defense in the High Court wanted to establish that Khan was already discussing about the selling, purchasing, consuming etc. of drugs over WhatsApp chats. The Bombay High court however, granted him bail and he was released from judicial custody after two days of the passing of the order.

My concern here centers around the concept of privacy and confidentiality of the accused which flows from the Universal Declaration of Basic Principles of Human Rights,[1] adopted by the Indian Constitution[2] and which to a certain extent, reflects in the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 especially with the courts increasingly accepting the Right to be forgotten jurisprudence. We must not forget that an accused is innocent until proven guilty. Given the case of Khan, it may be seen that his arrest and then judicial custody in the jail in Mumbai became an open ‘document’ which has been consumed by public at large. Narcotic Drugs and psychotropic substance abuse cases may not be the regular criminal cases involving the offender and the victims unless otherwise proven where the substance consumer had been forced to consume such substances following several illegal mechanisms, or where the accused is found to have been involved in the drug peddling racket. Such cases may typically fall within the meaning of victimless crimes where ‘offenders’ themselves turn into victims of substance abuse. Such cases must be dealt with extreme care by the judiciary and the correctional administration where the offender-victim may need rehabilitation.  Such cases however are extremely complicated as it may often be seen that substance abusers may be involved in the drug peddling rackets too. But the central point here is, unless proven, the accused can not be considered as guilty even in such cases as well. Then why such cases of celebrity accused persons attract so much public attention and why certain media channels make such news items as matters of national level concern? One of the reasons for this in my understanding is, the inquisitiveness of the public regarding the life style of the ‘celebrity accused’. Several news channels shared the contents of arrest memo of Aryan Khan which in reality should not be shared unless it is considered as a public document by the courts. Some other news media channels shared stories as what should be Khan’s daily food routine as a detainee in the jail, [3] what did Khan read inside his prison cell, [4] etc.

We must understand that while the courts may make certain orders publicly accessible for ensuring transparency of the judicial proceedings, the same cannot and should not be misused for media trials.[5] The Bombay High court order for releasing accused Aryan Khan on bail is available on several legal news platforms.[6] But Khan’s Day to day to affair in the jail is a matter which must have been given a confidentiality cloak. Right to be forgotten is a protection against further victimization of the accused by the society at large and is an integral part of reformative justice jurisprudence whereby the accused may be given a new opportunity to join the mainstream society as a reformed and positive individual.  The case is not closed now and Khan is neither convicted, nor acquitted of the case. But when the prosecution may establish that he is guilty, and in such case once he finishes his sentence period, or when the defense may establish that he is not guilty, Khan may consider to request the court to exercise his Right to be Forgotten and the court may then consider directing different digital platforms to restrict public access to the bail orders and remove the contents about him which shows him as an accused from the digital platforms of different news media channels. Interestingly, Part III of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021(IT Act Rules, 2021) may offer some solace if Khan or any other person who may establish a proper locus standi, wishes to approach the court or the news media channels directly for applying Right to be Forgotten or for removing contents that may be misleading, damaging the reputation of the accused. Rule 8 of the IT Act, Rules, 2021 extends the application of the Rules to the publishers of the news and current affairs contents and of online curated contents and the application of these Rules for Part III is administered by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. The Rule suggests that any one who is aggrieved by any news content may directly contact the grievance mechanism cell established by the publisher of the news media portal/channel/paper. If the problem is not solved, then the aggrieved can reach out to the next level, i.e., self-regulatory body.[7] If the aggrieved is not satisfied with the decision of the self-regulatory body, then he/she can further approach interdepartmental committee which is considered as level III grievance redressal mechanism for the purpose of maintaining code of ethics, and which works for the oversight mechanism by the central government. In short, this Rule makes it easier for the aggrieved party   to approach the concerned authorities for removing or blocking an unwanted content which may be misleading, defamatory, damaging the reputation of some one etc. One may not approach the higher courts through Writ Petitions.  We must acknowledge that many female professionals including actors, models, athletes, journalists, writers and YouTubers etc., are constantly targeted in several news media channels for their daily activities , expression of thoughts or even cases of victimization of different sorts. If such women are held as accused or had become victims, they may also consider for applying for their Right to be Forgotten, they may also approach the concerned forums under the above mentioned Rule to remove unwanted news contents which are no longer relevant   But it must also be seen that application of Part III of the IT Act, Rules, 2021 should not pose a bar against judicial transparency and freedom of speech and expression.

 We must not forget that Right to be Forgotten is an extension of the right to privacy which every accused must have. Given the fact that the news stories about the accused in the Cruise drug case may remain floated on the information super highway for a long time, it is expected that the news media channels and their publishers may consider restricting further infringement of privacy of the accused.

Please note: The views expressed in the writeup are that of the author’s.  Please cite it as “Halder Debarati (2021) The celebrity ‘Drug on Cruise case’ of  2021 and the ‘may be considered’ Right to be Forgotten. Published in on 06.11.2021”

*Prof(Dr) Debarati Halder, Ph.D(Law) is working as Professor of Law, Parul Institute of Law, Parul University, Vadodara, Gujarat. She is also the founder of Centre for Cyber Victim Counselling ( . She can be reached

[1] See Articles 11 (right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty), and 12 right to privacy against arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, attack upon his honour and reputation etc) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

[2] Even though the scope of Article 21 of the constitution of India has been expanded to include right to privacy due to the landmark cases including Justice Puttaswamy vs Union of India & others, Writ Petition (Civil) No 494 of 2012; (2017) 10 SCC 1; AIR 2017 SC 4161

[3] Outlook Web Bureau (2021). Lunch At 11 Am, Dinner At 6 Pm: Aryan Khan’s Daily Routine In Arthur Road Jail. Published in on 16-10-2021. Accessed on 02.11.2021

[4] Livemint (2021). Aryan Khan reading religious books in Jail, say authorities. Published in on 24-10-2021. Accessed on 02.11.2021

[5] For more understanding, see The Chief Election Commissioner of India v M.R. Vijayabhaskar & Ors , Civil Appeal No. 1767 of 2021 (Arising out of SLP (C) No. 6731 of 2021). Available @ Accessed on 02.11.2021


[7] Rule 12(2) of the IT Act Rules, 2021 states as follows:

(2) The self-regulatory body referred to in sub-rule (1) shall be headed by a retired judge of the

Supreme Court, a High Court, or an independent eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting,

entertainment, child rights, human rights or such other relevant field, and have other members, not

exceeding six, being experts from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, child rights, human

rights and such other relevant fields.

(3) The self-regulating body

Gender and Internet : Web magazine for Cyber law for women News update for September 20- October 24, 2021

Image courtesy : Internet

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