A division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh adjourned the matter after hearing Advocates Manohar Lal, Meghan and Senior Advocate Vivek Sood appearing on behalf of the petitioners.
"There is already a matter pending in the Court wherein they had made this statement. Should they be made to make such a statement again and again?" Chief Justice DN Patel orally remarked.
The statement was made by WhatsApp in an appeal by WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook Inc against a single bench order declining to interfere with CCI's investigation.
It had claimed that users who have not accepted the 2021 policy, are being bombarded with such notifications on a regular basis, with the overarching plan being to get the entire existing user base committed to the policy before the enactment of the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill - which will be the prevailing law on the subject.
About Chaitanya Rohilla Plea
The plea filed by Advocate Chaitanya Rohilla states that the updated Policy gives the Company virtually a 360-degree profile into a person's online activity.
"This level of insight into a person's private and personal activities is done without any government oversight at present or regulatory supervision. Moreover, in the absence of a data protection authority, it leaves the users with a company's own assurances and privacy policies," the plea states.
Inter alia, he has sought a direction upon the Central Government to exercise of its powers under Section 79 (2) (c) read with Section 87 (2) (zg) of the Information Technology Act and ensure that Whatsapp does not share any data of its users with any third party or Facebook and its companies for any purpose whatsoever.
About Dr Seema Singh Plea
The plea states that according to the new policy WhatsApp can share information with third party service providers and other Facebook companies. This data sharing arrangement, the plea argues, will be used by the WhatsApp and its holding companies for them to analyse and further share, thus leaving scope for use as well as exploitation. This, the petitioner apprehends could lead to privacy violations.
About Harsh Gupta Plea
The petition challenges WhatsApp's general terms of services as well as WhatsApp Business terms of services as violative of the provisions of the IT Act and the right to informational privacy which is implicit in the right to privacy recognized under Article 21 of the Constitution.
The Plea states that the information and data provided to WhatsApp by the users, as per the terms of services, is used by WhatsApp not only for rendering the services for which the users have enrolled, but also for sharing this information and data with the Facebook Companies without providing the option to the users to opt out of such arrangement.
It further submits that WhatsApp also collects various kinds of information and data of the users of its services not entirely relevant for providing the main services of the WhatsApp App i.e., messaging and communication.