Google Calls Modi Criminal, FIR Ordered


Allahabad: Following a revision application filed by a lawyer, the Allahabad district court has ordered a criminal case against search engine giant Google. Sushil Kumar Mishra, a lawyer, had filed a complaint against Google for showing PM Narendra Modi in the image search result for “top criminals in the world”.

Mishra had first approached Civil Lines police station in Allahabad to file a case but was refused. His application was also dismissed by the chief judicial magistrate in November last year. The CJM refused to entertain the application noting it to be a civil case and not criminal.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, the additional district judge Mahtab Ahmed has issued a notice to Google ceo and India chief seeking response on the complaint. The next hearing of the case is on July 31.

The issue came to light around June last year when users found Narendra Modi’s photo in Google image search result for “top criminals in the world”. After which Mishra had written a letter to the company, which is based in Mountain View, California, asking it to remove Modi’s image. The company did not respond to Mishra’s letter, the report said. Google, right after the initial complaints and reports regarding the PM’s photo, had apologised “for any confusion or misunderstanding”.

“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement in June 2015.

The company had said that in this case, the image search results were drawn from multiple news articles with images of Modi, covering the prime minister’s statements with regard to politicians with criminal backgrounds, but added that the news articles do not link Modi to criminal activity, and the words just appeared in close proximity to each other.

Several photos of PM Modi still appear in the image search for the mentioned search text. However, Google started putting a disclosure text after other such incidents involving fake or controversial results were reported.

The disclosure text reads, “These results don’t reflect Google’s opinion or our beliefs; our algorithms automatically matched the query to web pages with these images.”