WhatsApp challenges IT rules: Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre

WhatsApp challenges IT rules: Delhi High Court issues notice to Centre

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has directed the Centre to file an objection against the petition filed by Facebook and WhatsApp, challenging the new IT rules for social media intermediaries, which mandated the messaging app to trace chats and make provisions to identify the first originator of the information. 

The petitioners have challenged the new IT act stating that it violates the right to privacy and are unconstitutional. 

The division bench comprising Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Sing Prasad has issued notice to the Centre and asked to file objections. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology named as a respondent in the petition asked to file a reply on or before October 22. 

Senior Advocate Harish Salve and Mukul Rohatgi appearing for WhatsApp and Facebook opposed adjournment as counsel appearing for Centre seeking more time. 

Read: WhatsApp Privacy Policy to be on hold till Data Privacy Bill takes effect: Salve tells Delhi HC

WhatsApp stated that the mandatory requirement of intermediaries enabling identifying the first originator of information in India upon government or court order puts end-to-end encryption and its benefits at risk. 

WhatsApp has urged the high court to declare Rule 4(2) of the Intermediary Rules as unconstitutional, ultra vires to the IT Act and illegal and sought that no criminal liability be imposed on it for any alleged non-compliance with Rule 4(2), which directing petitioner for identification of the first originator of the information.