Appearing for the instant messaging platform, Senior Advocate Harish Salve said, “We voluntarily agreed to put it (the policy) on hold… We will not compel people to accept.”
Salve said that WhatsApp would nonetheless continue to display the update to its users.
In response to Salve’s submission, the court observed that even though the implementation had been put on hold, the policy still continued to exist.
You are not implementing it but the policy is with you and any day it can come, the court said.
Salve reiterated that the approach would be maintained till the data protection bill becomes the law.
Commitment is that I will do nothing till the Parliament’s law comes in. If Parliament allows it, I will have it. If it doesn’t, bad luck… I’ve taken it off till the Parliament makes a law. Either we fit in or we don’t, Salve said.
The Personal Data Protection Bill seeks to regulate the use of individual’s data by the government and private companies. The Joint Committee of Parliament examining the Bill has been given extension till the monsoon session to submit its report.
Last month, an application was moved by WhatsApp for interim stay on the probe.
Objectionable part was ‘take it or leave it’. For present, ‘take it or leave it’ is something we are not doing. Opt in, opt out is not there. Everybody is using, he said.
He also urged the court to grant WhatsApp time till the end of July to respond to the questionnaire sent by CCI to it in relation to the inquiry.
Salve informed the court that on June 4, WhatsApp received a letter from CCI, seeking information directly in relation to the issue of privacy which is being looked into by the Supreme Court and the high court.
Please see the questions — month-wise number of downloads, number of active users, number of users left… number of users who opted out…80-90% is directly what your lordship is hearing, he said
He added that the matter before CCI was only at the stage of inquiry and nothing is going to happen even if steps are taken .
It is not as if by filing reply anything detrimental will happen, Lekhi said.
Advocate Gurkaran Singh submitted before the court that his client Tapasi Kohli sought to intervene in the appeals on account of being the informant before CCI.
The court proceeded to adjourn the matter till July 30 after it recorded that CCI’s affidavit was not on record.
The single judge on April 22 said that he saw no merit in the petitions of Facebook and WhatsApp to interdict the investigation directed by the CCI.