14:10 GMT +319 May 2019
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    Google, Yahoo, Microsoft Slammed for Advertising Fetal Sex Determination

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    India's Apex Court, which is fighting a cultural bias that has led couples to abort girls, has slammed several multinational search engines for not observing laws which were established to prevent female feticide.

    NEW DELHI — (Sputnik) — Search engines Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have come under fire in India for not exercising discretion in advertisements featuring kits used to determine the sex of human fetuses. The country's Apex Court excoriated the intermediaries, accusing them of blithely disregarding Indian laws prohibiting sex determination examinations of any kind and related products.  

    A bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R. Banumathi, observed, "You have to do something about this (fetal gender ID kit ads on search engines). This has become a social evil… You have to abide by the law. You can't say that you are not technically equipped. If you say you are, get out of the market." 

    The court has directed the government to immediately convene a meeting of technological experts from both sides on ways and means to keep such ads from being displayed by search engines.

    Legal advisors representing the search engines argued that it was not technologically feasible to lock all key words involving such ads, as it would inadvertently block out any content remotely connected to such words. Senior advocate CA Sundaram, on behalf of Google, said that as soon as any such ad pops up, the intermediary blocks it, but it was unable to completely prevent them from showing up

    Sex determination is an offence in India, where the rate of female feticide is alarming. Conducting, facilitating, selling and advertising related products are penal offences. 

    A UN report last year stated that in India, 93 boys die before age of 5 for every 100 girls who die by that age. The report says, "Higher mortality among girls can be closely related to a general preference for sons in India, which is expressed in special treatment for boys in terms of parental investment in nutrition, vaccinations, access to health treatment and parental care in general."

    According to India's Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, 2,000 girls are killed in India every day.

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