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Photograph: Photo by SEO, used under CC BY-SA

Top search engines Google, Microsoft and Yahoo will block advertisements related to prenatal sex determination services following an order by India's Supreme Court, a news report said Monday.

Government lawyers told the court that the search engines had enabled a system called "auto-block," which will stop such ads, broadcaster NDTV reported.

The companies had identified 22 key words, including "sex-determination," that will be harder to include in searches.

"We have decided to disable certain terms from appearing as auto-complete predictions as well as display a warning message on relevant searches to inform users of the unlawful nature of this subject," the report quoted a Google spokesperson as saying.

The action was prompted by public interest litigation, which said the ads violated India's 1994 Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act to stop female foeticide.

In July, the court rebuked the companies for continuing to display the ads after they told judges it was impossible to block the ads.

The selective abortion of females is widespread in India, despite laws prohibiting even the determination of sex of a foetus.

According to the 2011 census, the sex ratio for children ranging from newborns to those 6 years old was 919 girls for every 1,000 boys, lower than the natural ratio.

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