The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to instant messaging app WhatsApp, the Ministry of Finance, Law and Justice Ministry and the Ministry of Information Technology over a plea seeking direction to restrain the Facebook-owned messaging platform from proceeding with its payments system unless it fully complies with Reserve Bank of India's provisions. The top court also sought a response from both of them for not complying with the provision of appointing a grievance officer and other laws of India.
A bench of Justices RF Nariman and Indu Malhotra issued the notice on a plea filed by Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change. The bench has asked the Centre and WhatsApp to file the reply within four weeks. Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for the petitioner, contended that companies like Facebook and Google have appointed Grievance Officers in India but WhatsApp had not. The petitioner said that the messaging App must be directed to appoint a Grievance Officer who shall address grievances of the consumers in India.
Recently, the Facebook-owned-instant messaging app rejected India's demand for tracking the origin of messages on its platform to curb the spreading of fake news. The company said that doing so would undermine end-to-end encryption and affect privacy protection for users. "Building traceability would undermine end-to-end encryption and the private nature of WhatsApp, creating the potential for serious misuse. WhatsApp will not weaken the privacy protections we provide", a WhatsApp spokesperson had said.
Later, WhatsApp Head Chris Daniels met Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and had assured him of taking suitable steps to address the concern of fake news which has led to mob lynching. WhatsApp has over 200 million monthly active in India.