WhatsApp Emails Delhi HC Judge Asking Her Not To Hear the Plea Challenging New Privacy Policy

The Delhi High Court raised strong objection to an E-mail sent by WhatsApp asking a judge not to hear the plea which challenges its new privacy policy.

Justice Pratibha Singh said that the e-mail that was withdrawn later was totally unwarranted as she was anyway going to recuse from hearing the plea which was filed by Rohilla Chaitanya who contends that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp provides 360-degree access to a customer’s virtual activity and is against the fundamental right of privacy.

The petition also said that WhatsApp has forced its users to comply with the new privacy policy failing which, it has threatened to stop services by February 8th.

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Justice Pratibha Singh said in open court that

“The court has received an e-mail. I take strong objection to that. There was no need to send an e-mail. I was not going to hear this matter.”

WhatsApp through their counsel had written to the court that Justice Pratibha Singh must not hear the case as she had appeared as a senior counsel against WhatsApp in 2016. The case of 2016 was also regarding WhatsApp’s privacy policy and is still pending in the court. WhatsApp had also written to the Registrar General seeking for the change of Bench.

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Senior advocates like Mukul Rohtagi and Kapil Sibal appearing on behalf of WhatsApp also admitted on Friday that an e-mail of this sort should not have been seen. Advocate Tejas Karia, who had sent the e-mail also regretted and apologized to the court. He was finally made to withdraw it.

The petition said that the new privacy policy of WhatsApp jeopardizes the national security of the country by transmitting sensitive data to other countries. It is also alleged that WhatsApp tries to integrate its users into Facebook after the acquisition so that Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram become a part of one package.

Rohilla through her advocate Manohar Lal also contended that WhatsApp takes away the choice of sharing it with a third party which goes against the fundamental rights of citizens.

He added that WhatsApp through its new policy is evidently trying to share its user’s data with parent companies and other companies which will use that data to serve their personal interests.

A retired Supreme Court lawyer said since legally there is no choice for the customers as they have to accept the new policy else their services will be stopped, users are likely to migrate towards other apps like Telegram and Signal.


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