The Supreme Court has granted six weeks' time to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to file a report whether WhatsApp had complied with norms for launching its payment services.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing on behalf of WhatsApp, told the bench headed by Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman that WhatsApp has complied with the RBI data localisation norms and will submit a compliance report to RBI, for which it needed some time.
Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing on behalf of the petitioner, think tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC), submitted that the petition relates to two issues --appointment of grievance officer by WhatsApp in India and compliance of RBI data localisation norms.
Both these points raised by the petitioner have been endorsed by RBI as well as Central Government and they have stated that WhatsApp has not complied with these. Therefore, he sought that the government should file a compliance affidavit on these points.
The bench asked WhatsApp as to how much time it requires to submit the compliance affidavit.
In response, Sibal suggested that WhatsApp should submit a compliance report to RBI, and RBI can submit a compliance affidavit before the Supreme Court.
Appearing on behalf of RBI, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi submitted that initially the details will be sent to National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), which will take around 3-4 weeks, thereafter, RBI will take around two weeks to file a compliance report before the Supreme Court.
The court was hearing a petition filed by CASC, which said that WhatsApp, with over 20 crore active users, was the largest messaging platform and yet had no grievance officer and was largely unregulated as laws were not being complied with.
The petitioner referred to the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 and sought action against WhatsApp for violation of data localization norms during the trial period.