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Supreme Court notice to govt, WhatsApp over 'non-compliance'
Posted on: 28-08-2018 , 09:44:AM | DY365 Bureau

 Representational image

 August 28, 2018: The allegation of WhatsApp not complying with Indian laws, including appointing a grievance officer, under the Information Technology Act to redress complaints on fake news and online hate has come under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court issuing notice to the US-based internet giant and the Centre seeking their response. 

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra agreed to examine the issue after an NGO alleged that the company was not implementing the laws and also not co-operating with the Indian agencies to deal with the menace of fake news being spread through its platforms leading to lynching and other incidents. 

The NGO alleged that the government agencies were widely using the WhatsApp platform despite the company not complying with Indian laws. It said the Centre was even contemplating to allow the company to proceed with online payments systems without the firm complying with RBI circular. 

Advocate Virag Gupta told the bench that other companies like Facebook Inc and Google Inc have appointed grievance officer for users in India, but WhatsApp had failed to do so. “Rumour-based crimes, especially lynching, have increased over the last few years. Growth of such crimes are directly proportional to growth of user base of messaging services like WhatsApp, which continue to remain unregulated," the petitioner said. 

"WhatsApp is a foreign company with no office or servers in India. To run payments service in India. Whatsapp is obligated to have its office and payments in India. Yet, it is being allowed to continue with its payments and others and other services, without any checks," the petition said. 

It said that WhatsApp has more than 20 crore active users in India and earned huge revenue from its operation in the country but it does not pay any tax. 

The bench asked the Centre and the company to file their response on the allegation levelled by the NGO. 

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