A Bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud also issued notice to WhatsApp and Facebook and sought their responses within two weeks. The bench sought the assistance of Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi in hearing the plea, which alleged that the social networking sites compromise the privacy of interpersonal communication of over 150 million people in the country.
Senior advocate Harish Salve alleged that privacy of citizens has been infringed by the social networking sites, which amounted to infringement of Articles 19 (Freedom of Speech and Expression) and 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution. Right to Life includes the Right to Privacy, Salve said.
Where privacy online is concerned, India doesn’t have a separate law or policy which is designed specifically to protect the right to data, privacy of users. But given the kind of growth that social media has seen in India, the issue of privacy and how companies deal with this data is one that is bound to come up.
WhatsApp in India has over 160 million users, making this one of the biggest markets for the company. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, is also a big player in the Indian market; it has the second highest user base in the country. Earlier WhatsApp had faced trouble in India with the Delhi High Court over its decision to share with Facebook.
With PTI inputs