Delhi ( New Delhi)

SC adjourns hearing on WhatsApp’s privacy policy till January 2023

After the Center said a new bill on data privacy is “already ready”, the Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned till January 2023 hearing on a petition challenging WhatsApp’s privacy policy for users in India.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told a five-member constitution bench headed by Justice K M Joseph that “the government is alive to the situation” and “the preparation of the bill is already underway”. He said the case “requires a legislative response rather than a judicial response” and urged the court to adjourn the hearing.

He told the bench, also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy and C T Ravikumar, that the government’s stand is that “Indian citizens cannot be discriminated against as other users of WhatsApp… operating in India, you must comply with Indian laws”, and that Indian users should be “provided the same level of privacy as you are treating others”.

Pointing out that the matter was pending for a long time and if the government wanted to bring some legislation, it could do so, Justice Joseph asked: “Why wait?”

Mehta replied that a Bill was introduced but later withdrawn. “New is being formed,” he said, adding that he could not get the exact status as the matter was suddenly listed for hearing on Thursday.

Senior advocate Shayan Dewan, appearing for the petitioners, submitted that the company’s privacy policy has changed after Meta took over WhatsApp. The degree of security and privacy enjoyed by European users is high, he said, adding that privacy being a universal human right, Indian users should not be at a disadvantage compared to users abroad until the bill takes shape.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, said the EU policy was to meet EU laws, and ultimately it would depend on the law in force in each country.

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Hi, my name is Nisha and I'm an educational journalist based in India. I've always been passionate about the power of education to transform lives, and that's what led me to pursue a career in journalism focused on this area. I completed my Bachelor's degree in English from Hindu College in Delhi in 2013 and then went on to earn my Master's in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication in 2017. During my studies, I also completed several short-term courses on Education in India, Sociology, and other related subjects to deepen my knowledge in this field. I'm particularly interested in improving access to quality education in rural areas, where students often face significant challenges. I've worked on a number of initiatives to address this issue, including advocating for better policies, resources, and practices that can make a difference. As an educational journalist, I'm passionate about using my platform to highlight important issues in the education space. I've covered a wide range of topics, including the impact of technology in the classroom, innovative approaches to teaching and learning, and the challenges facing students from marginalized communities. One of the things I love most about my work is the opportunity to constantly learn and grow. I'm an avid reader and believe that reading is key to expanding one's knowledge and perspective. I'm always seeking out new ideas and insights to help me better understand the world around me. In summary, as an educational journalist, I'm dedicated to using my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the field of education. I'm committed to improving access to quality education for all students and to using my platform to raise awareness about important issues in this area.

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