SC issues notice to Centre, WhatsApp against payments service

Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for the petitioner Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change, contended that WhatsApp does not comply with provision of mandating a grievance officer and other laws of India including KYC norms.

india Updated: Aug 27, 2018 21:51 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi, Hindustan Times
WhatsApp payment service,Supreme Court,WhatsApp
The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre and messaging service provider WhatsApp after a plea sought direction to restrain the app from proceeding with its payments systems unless it fully complies with RBI’s provisions.(AFP Photo)

The Supreme Court of India on Monday issued notices to the union government and messaging application service WhatsApp, seeking their response to a petition seeking to suspend of permission to WhatsApp to operate its payment system until it complies with the Reserve Bank of India Guidelines.

The petition filed by a public trust, Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC) says that WhatsApp should appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with consumer grivences and co-ordinate with intelligence agencies and also comply with tax and other laws of India.

A bench of Justice R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra gave four weeks to ministry of Finance, Information and Technology and WhatsApp to respond.

The petition also contended that despite WhatsApp being a foreign company with no office or servers in India, it is being allowed to continue with its payments and other services, without any checks. To run its payments service in India, WhatsApp is obligated to have its office and payments in India, it said.

WhatsApp and IT ministry spokespersons declined comment.

Companies like like Facebook and Google have appointed Grievance Officer for users in India, but WhatsApp has not, the petition added. Delhi Police, Maharashtra Police, Indian Railways and even Election Commission of India are using WhatsApp to tackle various problems, it said, yet none of the above authorities have WhatsApp number to contact, in case they themselves face any problem, adds the petition.

WhatsApp is already engaged in discussions with the Union government on ways in which it can help tackle the menace of fake news. In recent months, fake reports on WhatsApp have resulted in mob violence and lynchings across many Indian states.

First Published: Aug 27, 2018 15:22 IST