A Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh said that in view of the firm's stand it would hear the pleas on August 27. “They have made a statement that till the personal data protection bill is not finalised, they will not transfer. There is another matter before this court in which they have made the statement. This is not so urgent now,” the court said.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for WhatsApp, told the court that as per his client's stand the accounts of those not accepting the new policy will not be deleted for the time being.
“We said we will not block,” Sibal stated.
Senior Advocate Vivek Sood, appearing for one of the petitioners - Harsha Gupta, highlighted that even if the 2021 policy is kept on hold, data can still be transferred under the pre-2021 policy.
“Let them make a statement that they will not transfer data,” Sood asked the court.
Advocate Manohar Lal, appearing for another petitioner – Chaitanya Rohilla - submitted that his grievance did not pertain to the personal messages sent over the platform but the meta data which is shared with Facebook.
Meghan, a lawyer who has challenged the policy along with two other persons, also raised issues with respect to the privacy of users.
“All right, we are considering. There is no use of (WhatsApp) making statement again and again,” the court stated.
"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," Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for WhatsApp had 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.
In its response, WhatsApp claimed that the new policy did not affect a user's privacy as personal messages continued to be protected by end-to-end encryption.
WhatsApp has also challenged the maintainability of the writ petitions against it.
With PTI inputs