Transparency, Good Governance and the Right to be Forgotten

-V  Sreedharan*


The right to be forgotten (“RTBF”) since it’s conception in Google Spain SL v. Agencia Española de Protección de Datos,[1] has emerged in a number of laws. While courts and jurisdictions across the world have varied in their understanding of the right, in most cases it refers to a natural person’s (“claimant”) right to have information about them be removed from the internet. Harms in these cases are mostly reputational. However, data available in court documents and affidavits can also be used for identity theft and fraud.[2]

On the other hand, Indian courts have also been hesitant in declaring a full-fledged right to be forgotten to claimants from court documents. Having transparent open courts carries important policy considerations, which may be limited by a RTBF.

Indian courts via cases[3] have also been inconsistent with their application. In 2017, the Karnataka High Court evoked a limited version of the right in sensitive cases involving rape,[4] when s 228A of the IPC would have arguably achieved the same result. In 2021, the Delhi High Court accepted a version of this right and granted interim relief,[5] while later the same year the Madras High Court accepted the right initially but rejected it in the final judgment.[6] In the final judgement, the court determined that it would not be wise for it to issue directions until the Legislature has enacted a proper policy or some basic criteria or parameters to enforce this right.[7]

In this paper, I attempt to reconcile the RTBF with transparency by providing a framework within which RTBF claims can be scrutinised and allowed, while keeping in mind transparency considerations.

When referring to a person who wishes to have her name removed from a court document, I use the term ‘claimant’. I use this to differentiate myself from the data-first approach to the topic in privacy discourse. In that approach, a claimant would then be a ‘data principle’ under the Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 (“PDP Bill 2019”) and the interchangeably used ‘data subject’ under the General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”). This way, I limit the paper’s scope to only determining RTBF claims of ‘natural persons’ since under PDP Bill 2019, s 3(14) only natural persons can be claimants. Hence, I altogether avoid the question of whether corporations have personal privacy rights.

At the outset, it is helpful to look at preliminary arguments for and against protecting the identity of someone in a court document. The argument for a RTBF is that having documents publicly available and more accessible than ever before, tarnishes the reputation of individuals and that such privacy incursions are illegal. The arguments against such a right are threefold:

Firstly, removing the whole document from the public would violate the principle of an ‘open court’ (right to open court). Secondly, removing the names violates a person’s right to know the legal history of a third person (right to a background check). These two arguments also differ in that one is a collective right exercised by a population in knowing court processes (say, what the legal development is), the other is an individual’s right (say, a potential employer or partner screening a potential employee or partner). While both instances undoubtedly are issues of transparency, only the former is an issue of good governance. Consequently, in the paper, I focus mainly on the former, the value that ‘open courts’ have in good governance. In any case, the latter is also inseparable from the larger debate that the RTBF may have on court documents, and I also engage with it.

A third and technical argument is that a RBTF is a moot exercise because the proliferation of data and the ubiquitous nature of the internet has made deletion of anything from the internet impossible.[8] I do not engage with this argument since it would be too technical and would require extensive knowledge of how law enforcement deals with the internet. Therefore, this paper is largely theoretical.

To contest both the other two arguments I firstly, provide a framework where the concept of ‘open court’ can still be maintained while preventing violations of privacy. This is primarily by differentiating between inquiries or searches that seek to know more about the law and those that seek to capture the behaviour of the claimant. Since this framework would infringe upon any supposed right for a person to know the legal history of another, I also deal with the question of whether such a right to background check exists. I argue that such a right does not exist for non-criminal cases and even minor criminal cases. With major criminal cases, exceptions arise that have to be dealt with more carefully. I address these towards the end of the paper.

With regards to inquiries that exercise both of these types of “rights” (namely, the right of a person to know about the law and the right of a person to know about the background of the claimant), I call these “good” searches and “bad” searches, with reference to the intent of the searcher in finding information. Searches for finding out the law is ‘good’ in the sense that they are sincere attempts by the general public, a lawyer or a law student to find out what happened in a particular case. Searches for finding the past actions of an individual are ‘bad’ in the sense that they are done with the intent to detect digital traces left behind by the claimant and result in the claimant being treated differently based on their history with the law, which is discriminatory. Notably, these terms are not meant to be moral judgements on the intention of persons conducting such inquiries.

Hence, the balancing test is to make sure that someone who wants to know the law has access to court documents while at the same time ensuring that any reputational harm that comes with easy accessibility is limited.

In this paper, I answer the Madras High Court’s call for more clarity on this issue of the RTBF’s extent of application on court documents. I go in the reverse order, in that I first divide the different stages in which RTBF claims are made against court documents into three levels vertically. Then, I argue for anonymisation at the second and first levels. Only once I argue this do I determine whether a right to know someone’s legal history is discriminatory in the first place.

The first level refers to documents at the primary source such as the court website or the certified copy available at the court premises. The second level is the copy of the document at secondary sources such as websites like IndianKanoon and LiveLaw. These websites use web-scraping tools and APIs to collect data and present it in a freely accessible manner.[9] The third level includes links in search engines like Google and Yahoo that point towards secondary sources.

The Google Spain case dealt with only the third level, to remove personal data relating to a person from search results, particularly newspaper reports.[10] I argue that a RTBF in the sense of full erasure should only be applied in this third level. On the other hand, a right to have the name of the claimant anonymised is applicable in the second level and in limited cases in the first level.

Within the three levels, I do not differentiate between different types of court documents. This is because the principle of ‘open courts’ is applicable to say, a final judgment as much as a bail order. It is equally important that both these types of documents are open to criticism. Potentially, both these documents can help build precedence, and both the documents provide legitimacy of the court. A RTBF would also be meaningless if the name is erased in the judgment and not in the other documents since reputational harm begins from the very first document. It would be counterproductive if an acquitted accused’s name is present in the FIR but her name is erased from the subsequent judgment that says that she is acquitted. I explain these three levels in turn.

Open Courts and Good Governance

Transparency in courts is often divided by functions that a court does: administrative or managerial, and judicial. While the importance of transparency in administrative functions (in terms of corruption, the collegium system and its appointments thereunder etc.) has been addressed, the importance of transparency on judicial functions may be less clear. Transparency in this segment affects both efficiency and effectiveness of the court process.[11] It also encourages judges to act in a fair, consistent and impartial manner.[12] Given this well-understood principle that is the foundation of most legal systems, the inconsistency between jurisdictions is baffling.

The right to access of court files is often understood as one of the many manifestations of the right to information.[13] However, the existence of such a right is only the first of two steps needed to ensure transparency of the court. The second step is determining whether that right also extends to explicitly to the judiciary. For example, Finland and Canada have courts that play a major role in promoting transparency of the judiciary, and fulfils both the steps. In India, the situation is not as straightforward. A right to information is, of course, guaranteed. However, its application on court documents is questionable. Certified copies of court orders cannot be sought under RTI, and instead have to be obtained through the respective High Court rules.[14] While the Supreme Court opined that both the processes are the same and that there is no inconsistency, under the Rules an applicant has to disclose reasons for obtaining (which need not always be accepted, especially if the applicant is a non-party to the relevant dispute). There is no such requirement under RTI.[15] The result, then, is that the RTI Act covers only the administrative side of the courts.

In this context, it is especially fascinating that certain judicial information may be curbed by the right to be forgotten, itself being an inchoate concept in India. The questions are more blurry when one takes into account that not all information related to the judicial side of the court may be within the court’s ambit. Under my vertical three-pronged approach, only the first level is ‘State’ and consequently under the provisions of the RTI. The other two levels are private actors. In any case, RTBF claims unlike RTIs are applicable to State-actors as well. A RTBF is envisaged in the PDP Bill, and Indian courts have also not been put off by the non-state element of claims. Even the original Google Spain judgment, as the name suggests, centred on a claim against Google Spain, a non-State actor. Finally, a RTBF claim based on the right to privacy under Art 21 can also be seen to apply to non-state actors.[16]

Vertical spectrum

The Third Level

Almost all instances of the right to be forgotten are a result of individuals facing problems with respect to matrimony,[17] job,[18] employability[19] or reputation[20] because of a search result at this level. In these cases, a potential partner or employer does not directly search for the claimant’s name in secondary sources like IndianKanoon. Instead, the intent is a mere internet search without expecting any result. This internet search then leads the searcher to secondary websites. Therefore, any action to limit searches should arrest them at the point of the initial search at the third level. Such an arrest would then make further erasure at the second or first level unnecessary.

It is hard to argue that mere delisting[21] of websites that publish court documents, from the list of results displayed when the search terms include the name of a claimant should be overridden by arguments of public interest. Court documents would still be available for the public to access. This is because de-indexing would only remove links if the search query included the name of the claimant. Search queries without the claimant’s name (and instead including the name of the court, laws involved, facts, ratio etc.) would continue to point towards the court document. Therefore, delisting enables differentiation between ‘good’ searches and ‘bad’ searches.

The Second Level

Once links in the third level are delisted from search engines, it is unnecessary to remove court documents from the second level since a vast majority of claims are a result of links available on search engines.

However, potentially discriminatory searches may be found before the claimant could claim her RTBF. In such instances, it is also helpful to grant the claimant a right to redact their name from the secondary source. Hence, if the link to a secondary source has already caused harm to the claimant, a right of redaction can mitigate the result of such privacy incursions.

Such redactions do not hamper ‘good’ searches since a person conducting such a search is not interested in the name of the parties mentioned in the case but only in its content. Even if the name of the case is important to the ‘good’ searcher, she can find the original document at the first level with the help of citations or case numbers.

To preserve their publication, secondary sources have argued that court cases are public records and their publication would not be a violation as per case law such as R. Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu.[22] However, Rajagopal requires a re-look in light of a recognition of a RTBF. While the original records may be public, a publication of this aggregated data may still violate privacy. At the time of Rajagopal, cases certainly weren’t as easily searchable and accessible as it is now. Conceptions of privacy have to be examined again, situating it away from 20th-century technology. Therefore, I reject this argument.

Instead, to preserve their publication, I argue that there is no right of deletion at the second (and the first) level due to the advantages that open courts have. In the next section, I explain the benefits that open courts have. While it may be obvious that documents in the first level fit the definition of open courts, that secondary sources also deserve protection under that concept may be less clear. However, secondary sources like IndianKanoon have made it incredibly easy for the common person to access Indian law. Alternate sources such as official court websites are not easily searchable. For example, someone accessing the Supreme Court website would require prior knowledge of technical legal information (the name of petitioner, respondent, judge, case number etc.) before performing a search.[23] While a lawyer may know this information, a common person may not. Searchable services like libraries, SCC and Manupatra are paid services with a paywall. These charges are too expensive for large sections of the public and the legal profession.[24]

On the other hand, IndianKanoon is largely free and has made court documents easily searchable. Therefore, if one were to prescribe that court documents that fall foul of someone’s RTBF should be deleted in the secondary sphere but not in the first sphere, this would have severe socio-economic implications. Therefore, transparency should not just mean free access to court documents for persons who can afford expensive legal databases, but also cheaper alternatives.

The First Level

A RTBF cannot exist to mean the erasure of court documents at the first level because the publicity and non-deletion of court documents support important public policy principles. The open justice principle is well-established in common law.[25] With the emergence of the RTBF, scholarship has also explained why the right should not override this principle.[26] The Benthamian idea of open courts allows for three distinct advantages:

(1) Transparency of court documents allows for public scrutiny and the right to protest against a State institution. If court cases are not published, there is no material. The aphomerism “Justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done”[27] rings true. Apart from holding the judiciary itself accountable, criminal cases and writ petitions hold the State (the former through the police machinery) accountable. Commercial disputes and judicial consistency help the ease of doing business in a place[28];

(2) Access to court documents confers legitimacy on the judiciary and establishes public confidence in the judiciary. ,

(3) The general public including lawyers and law students understand how the law is applied and precedence is built. Declared laws (by the judiciary) has to be made public as much as enacted laws. This is especially important in jurisdictions such as India where courts have the power to strike down sections of statutes. As an example, even after IT Act, s 66A was struck down by the Supreme Court, cases continue to be registered under this section.[29]

Because of these reasons, there cannot be a RTBF at the first level in terms of complete erasure. However, anonymisation of party names would not violate these principles. Firstly, public scrutiny is still invited if names are anonymised. Criticism of the judiciary rarely depends on who the parties involved are, and instead depends on the facts of the case, the court’s reasoning and the decision of the court. Even in scrutiny of the State, the names of individuals themselves do not hold much value. Secondly, confidence in the system is also not diminished if the parties remain anonymous in the documents, as long as the public can see that justice is provided. With anonymisation, proceedings are not closed to the public and documents are not classified. Thirdly, clarity of the law and precedence does not depend on the names of parties involved either.


Therefore, what can be explored in the first level is anonymisation. An EU court has held that one way to meet the obligation under Art 17 of the GDPR (which is the article for RTBF claims) would be anonymisation of the data.[30] In the context of court documents, this would mean the anonymisation of party names and other identifiable data. Importantly, anonymisation need not be limited to the parties involved but can be extended to persons whose names are mentioned in the case but are otherwise not parties. Therefore, even if someone isn’t a party, they can have at least their name anonymised in the judgment without prejudicing the rights of the parties involved in the case.[31] This would hence provide non-parties with a broader set of rights than envisaged in the status quo, where non-parties have to give reasons for obtaining court documents.[32]

It is also to be noted that scholarship has well-covered that seemingly “anonymised” data can be re-identified.[33] Therefore, as long as the anonymisation process is also stringent and irrevocable, then this standard should be met, as per the court decision.[34]

While Indian courts have held that anonymity during litigation cannot be guaranteed,[35] courts do sometimes redact the names in the judgment itself, as per the circumstances.[36] Under the PDP Bill 2019, it is a separate authority that decides whether a RTBF claim would apply.[37] This suggests that any claim against court documents likely would not be answered by the court at the time of judgment itself but by the DPA. This is unlike the model in other jurisdictions where the search engine company has a duty to review RTBF claims, at least in the first instance. Questions of how transparent their decision making will be, have been raised.[38]

Such an ex-post application makes sense since anonymisation cannot be said to be the default and the naming of parties the exception. A claim to anonymised one’s name should be carefully judged based on surrounding circumstances. Anonymisation in the context of privacy law also strongly suggests irreversibility and a lack of anonymisation.[39] Therefore, decisions necessarily have to be ex-post. Ex-post decisions would also clarify that during the trial, anonymisation cannot be guaranteed. The same has also been held by Indian courts.[40] Having the complainant open to cross-examination is the cornerstone of the criminal justice system, and hence she cannot avail of a right to be forgotten at that instance.[41]

Again, it is important to contextualise such requests on a case-by-case basis in very limited scenarios instead of having anonymisation of parties the default. Having said that, in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia and Sweden, court decisions as a rule are anonymised on publication by default, regardless of the court.[42] However, the same may not be easily transplanted to the Indian context. This is because several public rights in India currently hinge on knowing the records of another person.

Horizontal spectrum

Therefore, in this case, a spectrum is again constructed. On one extreme, there are matters where disputes are anonymous as per current laws, and arguably rightly so. Examples include family courts,[43] proceedings under the JJ Act,[44] and the types of cases under which s 228A of the IPC would involve. Both the ICCPR and ECHR have exceptions to right to information to protect children and adolescents. Under the UN Beijing Rules, no information can be published, that may lead to the identification of an offender who is a juvenile.[45]

Moving on, there are civil matters which are results of essentially private matters between individual parties. For the general public, there exists very little interest for them to know the content of such matters. Someone’s history in a civil court should also have no relation as to her conduct in life.

Criminal Cases

At the furthest end of the spectrum, there are criminal matters. Within criminal matters, again, it is important to differentiate between major and minor offences. While a complete categorisation of offences to be major or minor would be beyond the scope of the paper, a few laws are indicative of what crimes are to be considered ‘major’:

India does not have an extensive criminal records system like other countries. In countries that do have such records, like say in the United States, many states offer expungement of someone’s criminal record. In the states that do offer expungement, crimes such as possession of marijuana, prostitution, public intoxication and other non-violent crimes are mostly expungeable in a few years after jail time.[46] On the other hand offences such as murder and rape are not expungeable in any of the states.[47] The reasoning is that violent crimes are necessarily crimes against society at large and they reflect on a person’s honesty (or lack of it). Hence, the ‘moral turpitude’ test can be followed.

Among Indian laws, the conviction of certain crimes makes someone ineligible to hold public office until at least six years after release.[48] These include offences of rape, bribery, domestic cruelty under the IPC and conviction under special statutes such as the UAPA and the NDPS Act.[49] While such lists may not be exhaustive, there follows a legitimate classification to differentiate between all crimes. Someone who had previously murdered many persons under IPC s 302 probably has a weaker claim to anonymisation when compared to someone who was caught smoking in public under IPC s 278. The argument for anonymisation for persons involved in minor crimes also gains importance when data indicates that persons that undergo expungement have extremely low subsequent crime rates when compared to the general population.[50] Further, employment status drastically reduces the chances that an ex-convict would subsequently commit a crime.[51]


With regards to acquittals in criminal cases, it makes little sense for a person’s behaviour to be linked to their criminal activity if they were merely an accused but was later acquitted. Treating an acquitted person and a convict without any difference would only reduce the trust that the public has in the judiciary to make accurate decisions. Therefore, acquitted persons regardless of the nature of the crime should have a right to anonymisation. This would go against the recent Madras High Court ruling.[52] Firstly, the ruling is problematic in that the court was not prepared to erase an accused persons’ record since it did not find the justice system “satisfactory”.[53] Essentially, this indicates that merely being a suspect would have a bearing on the person’s behaviour and trustworthiness even if they are acquitted since as per the court the justice system is not effective and acquittals may be incorrect due to “slipshod investigation” and “dishonest witnesses”.[54] Secondly, in any case, the court, in that case, was open in the future to the anonymisation of names of accused persons who are later acquitted.[55] It was only discouraged by the lack of uniform rules in applying the same.[56]

For major crimes, the reformatory perspective suggests that a person’s past criminal activity should not have any bearing on future behaviour. That someone was merely tried for murder should not affect her employability. If someone is tried for murder, there are two outcomes: (1) Either they were acquitted and weren’t found guilty, or (2) they were convicted and served their punishment. To that end, treating such persons differently even after they have served their sentence would be discriminatory.

In the UK, discrimination against ex-offenders of minor crimes in matters of employment is illegal in most fields.[57] In the US, discrimination against convicts is illegal, except for a handful of fields such as childcare and law enforcement.[58] Indian law is regressive in that it not only firstly does not recognise discrimination against ex-convicts but secondly has many statutes and practices that actually give legitimacy to such practices. Hence, that someone has a criminal history is enough to reject them a job in the police force.[59] Similarly, a conviction could mean a lifetime suspension as a government employee under the Civil Service Rules[60] and as mentioned above, convicted persons cannot run for any public office at least six years after their release.[61] As argued previously, such a classification seems legitimate in some instances – wherein the offence is of grave moral turpitude. In such instances, there may be a valid right for persons to invoke their right to transparency and screen whether a third-person may have been convicted of a crime.

Another approach to reconciling privacy with transparency – claimant’s role in public life?

One way to bypass transparency concerns when dealing with RTBF claims would be to apply anonymisation depending on who the claimant is. In the Google Spain case, the court also observed that its balancing test might produce different outcomes if the subject of the data had a role in public life.[62] The same sentiment is echoed in the Justice Sri Krishna Committee[63] and the 2019 PDP Bill.[64] While right to privacy and reputation (of which a RTBF is a part of) may be regarded as an exception to transparency, many laws find the exception inapplicable with respect to matters “related to functions of public officials.”[65] Similarly, when information relates to position or function of a public body or “relevant” private body, inapplicability is also found in the Model Law on Access to Information for Africa.[66] However, one cannot differentiate between members of high standing, like electoral persons and ordinary citizens since anonymisation is irrevocable. Therefore, de-anonymisation is simply impossible under the Bill and hence data once anonymised cannot be reversed if the ordinary citizen suddenly decides to run for a public office or wants to join the public force.

In conclusion, when dealing with anonymisation requests where the claimant is convicted of a major crime, the authority can consider factors such as time elapsed since the offence and the nature of the crime. What cannot be considered is what industry the claimant wants to work in or their role in public life.


The RTBF may be legitimate right and require recognition. However, because anonymisation has been conceptualised as irreversible, anonymisation claims have to be carefully approved and consistently applied. The Supreme Court has anyway made obtaining court documents a harder task than required through a mere filing of RTI. In such an instance further pruning of transparency should be cautiously handled. The vertical and horizontal spectrums that I have outlined above may be considered a starting point.

Further, while judicial recognition of the right is welcome, statutory recognition is also imperative. While the PDP Bill 2019 mentions this right and provides five-point criteria to determine RTBF claims,[67] they do not particularly focus on court documents. Consequently, until the Bill comes into force and decisions are made by the DPA, it is impossible to figure out the extent of this right under the PDP Bill.

Delisting at the third level is the most efficient response to RTBF claims. This is the least restrictive on public accessibility to court documents and covers the vast majority of RTBF instances. Transparency concerns are also addressed since the content of the court documents are still not hidden away for an inquisitive member of the public. At the first and second levels, complete erasure of court documents would violate ‘open court’ principles. The principle of transparency of judiciary requires documents to be available in a free manner. Even if the document is technically not removed from a State database, but hidden behind a paywall or a complicated server, this would still have an effect on how accessible the court document is to the general public. Therefore, in such a scenario anonymisation can be offered. In non-criminal cases (and for acquitter persons in criminal cases) this can be granted straightforwardly.

Criminal convicts (and especially those convicted for violent crimes) may not have a legitimate right to be forgotten and move on from their criminal histories. Anonymisation at this level also faces hurdles. Firstly, a right for ex-convicts to not be discriminated against would have to be read into constitutional provisions such as Art 14. Subsequently, such discrimination would have to be removed from statutes. Recent trends suggest that this is unlikely. The Supreme Court is currently hearing at length whether convicted MPs and MLAs should have a life ban in contesting elections.[68] Because of the concern that the criminalisation of politics has brought up, and that anonymisation is irreversible, it is probable that in these cases anonymisation for anyone would be limited. In any case, there are legitimate transparency concerns if one were to allow anonymisation especially in criminal cases.

Transparency of court documents is the cornerstone of the judicial system in a country, and incipient rights have to be carefully and consistently applied.

*Student, National Law School of India University, Bengaluru

1 (2014) Case C-131/12.

[2] Andrew Feldstein, ‘Open courts destroy privacy for divorcing spouses’ (The Province, 11 June 2012), <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[3] All the cases cited in the paper have their names publicly available on the internet.

[4] Vasunathan v. Registrar General 2017 SCC OnLine Kar 424.

[5] Jorawer Singh Mundy v. Union of India WP(C) 3918/2021, Delhi High Court.

[6] Karthick Theodre v. Registrar General, 2021 SCC OnLine Mad 2755.

[7] Ibid [37].

[8] See Sujoy Chatterjee, ‘Balancing Privacy and the Open Court Principle of Family Law: Does De-Identifying Case Law Protect Anonymity?’ (2014) 23 Dal J Leg Stud 91.

[9] Robert Richards, ‘Indian Kanoon: Sushant Sinha on Innovation and Free Law in India’ (Slaw, 1 June 2011) <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[10] Google Spain (n 1) [15].

[11] Guilherme France and Fabrizio Costantino, ‘Transparency of Court Proceedings’ (2019) Transparency International 1.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Chief Information Commissioner v. High Court of Gujarat, (2020) 4 SCC 702.

[15] RTI Act, s 6(2).

[16] Pratyush Singh, ‘Right to be Forgotten: Applicable against non-state entitites?’ (Law School Policy Review, 20 August 2021) <> accessed on 1 February 2022.

[17] Virginia Shylu v. Union of India WP(C) 6687/2017, Kerala High Court.

[18] Dr. Nikhil S Rajan v. Union of India WP(C) 39429/2020, Kerala High Court.

[19] Mundy (n 5).

[20] Theodre (n 6).

[21] The removal of specific results to websites is also sometimes called ‘de-indexing’ or ‘de-referencing’.

[22] (1994) 6 SCC 632; A version of this argument has been made in the counter affidavit filed by IndianKanoon in Rajan (n 12) available at <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[23] Judgments, Supreme Court of India <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[24] Prashant Iyengar, ‘Free Access to Law in India – Is it Here to Stay?’ India-Country Report [2010] <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[25] Scott v. Scott [1913] AC 417 is often cited in this regard.

[26] Chatterjee (n 8).

[27] Rex v. Sussex Justices, [1924] 1 KB 256.

[28] ‘Towards true ease of doing business’ (Business Line, 8 November 2017) <>  accessed 1 February 2022; Ministry of Finance, Department of Economic Affars, ‘Ease of Doing Business’ Next Frontier: Timely Justice’, (2017-18) 1 Economic Survey 132 <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[29] See People’s Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India MA 901/2021, Supreme Court.

[30] Dr. Xavier X v. AG, DSB-D123.270/0009-DSB /2018, Austrian Data Protection Authority.

[31] This was exactly the question of law in Mundy (n 6).

[32] Chief Information Commissioner (n 14).

[33] Latanya Sweeney, ‘Simple Demographics Often Identify People Uniquely’ [2000] Carnegie Melon University, Data Privacy Working Paper 3.

[34] Dr. Xavier X (n 30).

[35] Subodh Gupta v. Herdsceneand, 2019 SCC OnLine Del 11209 [2].

[36] One of the most famous examples of such anonymisation is X v. Hospital ‘Z’, (1998) 8 SCC 296.

[37] PDP Bill 2019, s 20(2).

[38] José Manuel Martínez and Juan Manuel Mecinas, ‘Old Wine in a New Bottle?: Right of Publicity and Right to be Forgotten in the Internet Era’ (2018) 8 Journal of Information Policy 362.

[39] Ibid, s 3(2); GDPR, Recital 26.

[40] Subodh Gupta (n 35).

[41] Ibid.

[42] Court of Justice of the European Union, Directorate-General for Library, Research and Documentation, ‘Anonymity of the parties on the publication of court decisions’ March 2017 <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[43] Rajasthan High Court, Circular No, 12/P.I./2017 (6 September 2017) <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[44] The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, s 24(2).

[45] United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice.

[46] Neil Shouse, ‘What felonies cannot be expunged?’ (Shouse California Law Group, 6 August 2021) <> accessed 1 February 2022.

[47] Ibid.

[48] Representation of the People Act 1951, s 8.

[49] Ibid.

[50] J.J. Prescott and Sonja B. Starr, ‘Expungement of Criminal Convictions: An Empirical Study’ [2020] 133 Harvard Law Review 2460.

[51] Chris L. Gibson and Marvin D. Krohn (ed), Handbook of Life-Course Criminology (Springer 2013) 201-212.

[52] Theodre (n 6).

[53] Ibid [37].

[54] Ibid.

[55] Ibid.

[56] Ibid.

[57] Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

[58] Civil Rights Act, Title VII.

[59] State of M.P. v. Parvez Khan, (2015) 2 SCC 591 [13].

[60] Central Civil Service Rules, Rule 19.

[61] Representation of the People Act 1951, s 8.

[62] Google Spain (n 1) [91].

[63] Justice Srikrishna Committee Report, 80.

[64] PDP Bill 2019, s 20(3)(c).

[65] Model Intel-American Law on Access to Public Information

[66] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights 2013.

[67] PDP Bill 2019, s 20(3).

[68] Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay v. Union of India, WP(C) 699/2016, Supreme Court.

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