The Indian Supreme Court has ordered Internet search engines Yahoo, Google and Bing to stop displaying advertisements relating to pre-natal sex determination.
To tackle the country's dwindling gender ratio, a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and PC Pant ordered the search engines not to violate laws and not to sponsor any advertisement that would display information towards pre-natal sex determination.
"It is directed that the respondents, namely, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft shall not advertise or sponsor any advertisement which would violates Section 22 of the PC-PNDT Act, 1994. If any advertisement is there on any search engine, the same shall be withdrawn forthwith by the respondents," the bench ordered, as quoted by The Indian Express.
According to the country's laws -- the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act of 1994 -- gender determination and selection are offences and anyone who abets such an act, either by giving information about a foetus or helping in removing it, is liable to be punished.
The bench further observed: "India is suffering so much because of sex ratio, but still there is a state of antipathy. Despite being banned, selective abortion is taking place and it is a growing problem for this country. This must stopped."
The search engines have also been asked to upload the restraint order on their policy pages and on the pages containing "terms and conditions of service."
The order has been passed after the apex court bench heard a PIL filed by activist Sabu Mathew George, who has said that the search engines violated Indian laws by displaying prenatal sex determination ads. The next date of hearing in the case has been fixed for 11 February.
India's sex ratio has been a cause of worry for the government for some time now and the country has planned numerous schemes to save the girl child.
It had also suggested that states give incentives to families with a girl child to improve the sex ratio of the country.
According to Indiaonlinepages, the sex ratio of India in 2015 stands at 943 females/1000 males.