Delhi HC to examine Google’s advertising terms for legal remedies in India

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has said that it will examine whether the terms of Google’s advertising programme unjustly restricts advertisers from seeking legal remedies or opting for arbitration within India.

Justice Pratibha M. Singh was hearing a plea filed by Startupwala Private Limited against Google India Private Limited, challenging the conditions under which their digital advertisements were disapproved or labelled as ‘Limited’.

Startupwala’s legal action, invoking Section 9 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996, demands that Google India reinstate all the company’s digital advertisements disapproved or marked as ‘Limited’ in December 2023 and January 2024.

Additionally, it seeks to prevent Google from disapproving any remaining ads under the same classification.

The contention revolves around the disapproval of Startupwala’s advertisements based on Google’s ‘Government Documents and Official Services’ policy.

Startupwala argues against Clause 13 of the Advertisement Terms, which mandates arbitration in Santa Clara County, California, USA, claiming it effectively denies them the opportunity to pursue legal remedies in India.

Justice Singh’s notice to Google calls for a thorough evaluation of whether such a clause truly inhibits Indian entities like Startupwala from accessing their legal rights or mandates that arbitration should occur within India.

Google has been directed to respond within two weeks, during which, it is ordered that advertisements currently not blocked and labelled ‘Eligible (limited)’ should not be altered or removed.

This order comes with the stipulation that the content of these advertisements remains unchanged until the next hearing.

“Since the Respondent is yet to file a reply and there are no reasons on record as to why any of these advertisements are disapproved or marked as Eligible (limited), the Court has considered the irreparable loss which can be caused to the petitioner and its business,” the court noted.

“Hence, it is directed that those advertisements which have currently not been blocked and are labelled as ‘Eligible (limited)’….shall not be blocked or taken down till the next date of hearing,” it added.


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