The Supreme Court in India has asked Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to respond to an application to implead them as a party in seeking directive to US-based WhatsApp in compliance with the data localisation norms in order to provide payment service in India.
The bench posted thus- “Issue notice on the application for implement of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as respondent.”
In a petition, an NGO has sought direction in order to restrain the instant messaging platform from proceeding further with their payment service in India unless they comply to the provisions of the RBI.
The Centre and WhatsApp earlier told the court that a grievance officer for India had been appointed by WhatsApp.
But the NGO claimed that grievance officer was appointed in the United States of America, and was “preposterous and against the sovereignty of India”.
In their plea, the NGO referred to IT (Intermediary) Rules of 2011 and IT (reasonable security practices and procedures and sensitive personal data or information) Rules 2011 which tells that provision is made for the appointment of grievance officer.
On August 27th, last year, the top court agreed to examine the plea and alleged that WhatsApp didn’t comply with the Indian laws and this included the provision of appointing a grievance officer.
WhatsApp currently has more than 200 million users in India and about one million people have been “testing” their payments service. India has been one of the largest bases for the company and has more than 1.5 billion users all over the world.
The plea claimed- “WhatsApp is a foreign company and has no office or servers in India. To run Payments Service in India, WhatsApp will have to have an office in India. In addition to this, it is also required to have a Grievance Officer for users in India. Yet, they are being allowed to continue with their payments and other services, without any check. The social media giant doesn’t comply to the tax and other laws of India but was being used by everyone- the commoner and judges in top court.
It is being said that every user has a number on WhatsApp but the messaging platform would have no number because of which their user could contact them for any grievance redressal.
The growth of such incidents has been directly proportional to the growth of the user base of the messaging services such as WhatsApp.