NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Monday rejected a plea seeking a ban on Truecaller, a caller identification mobile app, on the grounds of privacy violation, noting that it is a "facility" like the earlier "phone directories" where phone numbers and names used to be published.
In the Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the petitioner Ajay Shukla argued that the app violated the privacy of mobile phone users by disclosing their identity and other details without their consent and also hurt the reputations of some phone numbers by classifying them as ‘spam’.
A bench headed by acting chief justice Manmohan, however, disagreed with the contentions of the petitioner.
"Phone directory used to be public. No one's consent was obtained. It doesn't matter. This is a facility. The fact is that the Supreme Court has dismissed your matter. It was not withdrawn with liberty to file (in high court)," the bench also comprising Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora orally remarked.
The high court also noted that the issue had appeared before the Supreme Court through another plea by the petitioner and was withdrawn without the apex court granting him any liberty to approach the high court.
"You can’t re-litigate. This will amount to abuse of the process of law. Dismissed as withdrawn means you can’t re-litigate," the court said.
Turning down the plea, the bench said those aggrieved can notify Truecaller for deletion of their number.
"Please tell them to delete the number. They will delete the number... We will dismiss," the court said further.
In the PIL, the petitioner claimed Truecaller provides caller ID services to 250 million subscribers in India by “bypassing the law”.
The app also shared data of third parties without consent, i.e. mobile number and e-mail ID of contacts from the phonebook of the person using the mobile app, it was alleged in the plea by the petitioner.