Directing various websites including YouTube to take down and stop uploading certain explicit video clips and audio clips of a Bengali actor, the Delhi High Court has said that her right to privacy is to be protected, especially when it is her person that is being exhibited and that too against her will.
“In view of the fact that the plaintiff is entitled ‘to be left alone’ and ‘to be forgotten’, she is entitled to protection from invasion of her privacy by strangers and anonymous callers on account of such publication/streaming/transmission of the suit videos by the defendants,” said Justice Asha Menon in an interim order passed on Monday.
The actor in her suit told the court that the videos were being portrayed in a manner that infringe her privacy. It was submitted in the court that she had been approached by a production house for filming a web-series and had appeared in a demonstration video “comprising explicit scenes of complete frontal nudity”. Though the project fell through and the web series was never produced, the court was told that in December 2020 she came across the videos on YouTube channel and website of the producer.
While the producer removed the videos after a request was made, a number of websites had already uploaded them on their channels without her consent. This resulted in constant anonymous calls and insults, the court was told, adding that the videos had resulted in loss of reputation of the actor.
Justice Menon said explicit videos that are being circulated have a clear and immediate impact on the reputation of the person seen in the videos in a state of nudity and that she has not permitted even the producer of the videos to publish them. The bench noted that a coordinate bench of the High Court has already held that “right to privacy” includes the right to be forgotten and the right to be left alone as “inherent aspects”.
The court said that even if it was true that she may have participated in the filming of scenes voluntarily and for consideration, she has clearly stated that she has not licensed any of the websites and search engines to publish the same on YouTube. “She has also clearly stated in the plaint that the producer had actually uploaded the suit videos on his YouTube channel and the website, but as soon as she objected to it, he had taken them down. Now, if others were circulating the same for obvious monetary and other prurient benefits, the plaintiff cannot be denied any relief during the pendency of the suit,” it said.