Supreme Court seeks Centre's reply on plea against non-appointment of grievance officer by WhatsApp
The SC today sought response of the Centre and WhatsApp on a plea alleging that the social media giant does not comply with the provision of appointing a grievance officer and other laws of India.
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from central government and Whatsapp which has over 20 crores users in India over payments service run by the messaging platform. A plea filed in the apex court said that WhatsApp has failed to appoint a Grievance Officer as per IT rules.
The bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra issued notice to the government and the Facebook-owned messaging service seeking a detailed reply from IT and Finance ministry within four weeks as to why a grievance officer in India has not been appointed yet by Whatsapp.
The order comes days after IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met WhatsApp Head Chris Daniels and requested him to set up a local corporate entity and find a technology solution to trace the origin of fake messages circulated through its platform as well as appoint a grievance officer.
An NGO, Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change, had said that WhatsApp does not comply with the provision of mandating Grievance Officer and other laws of India.
"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. Moreover, it is also required to have a Grievance Officer for users in India. Yet, it is being allowed to continue with its Payments and other services, without any checks,-" it said.
"Companies like Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. have appointed Grievance Officer for users in India, but WhatsApp has not. However, the Grievance Officer of Facebook sits in Ireland, and the Grievance Officer of Google sits in USA and are thus rendered ineffective. In order to make Respondent No. 6 (WhatsApp) accountable, it must be directed to comply with Indian Law and appoint Grievance Officer, who shall be the person to address grievance of consumers, as well as co-ordinate with investigating agencies," the petition stated.