WhatsApp to withhold controversial India specific Privacy Policy. Evades direct answer to Delhi High Court on different policies for India and Europe

Is WhatsApp telling Indian Govt that it won’t comply while doing so in EU?

Is WhatsApp telling Indian Govt that it won’t comply while doing so in EU?
Is WhatsApp telling Indian Govt that it won’t comply while doing so in EU?

WhatsApp’s new policy on hold till Personal Data Protection Bill comes into force

At last, the US-based messaging platform decided to withhold its India specific controversial privacy policy and informed the Delhi High Court that it has decided to put on hold its controversial privacy policy update until the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 comes into force. Senior Advocate Harish Salve made the submission today on behalf of WhatsApp before a Bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh, in their petition against the Competition Commission of India. Salve cleverly did not give a direct answer to the question posed by the Judges whether WhatsApp is having a different policy for India and Europe. He said his brief is now limited to informing the Court on withholding a new privacy policy in India.

“Government has asked to shut down the policy. We have said we will not enforce it till Data Protection Bill comes out. That is open-ended because we don’t know when the Bill is going to come out…We have said we will not do this for a while. Suppose the Bill allows me to do it, we will have completely different ramifications”, said Salve. The senior lawyer also informed the Court that the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has communicated to WhatsApp that it feels that the WhatsApp Privacy Policy is against the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information), Rules, 2011.[1]

While doing so, the Court issued a notice in the applications filed by WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook seeking restraint on coercive action pursuant to the notice.

“We replied to MEITY’s notice seeking a response, saying that WhatsApp will not limit functionality for some time and continue to show users the updated (version…We will maintain this approach until Data Protection Bill comes into force. We have voluntarily agreed to put the update on hold till then,” Salve said.

“CCI is inquiring into a policy that I have taken off. If Parliament allows me to share data, CCI cannot say anything,” he added. The Court then queried whether the messaging application had a separate policy for India and for Europe. In response, Salve said: “The commitment is that I will not do anything till Parliamentary law comes. If Parliament allows me to have a separate policy for India, I will have it. If it doesn’t, I will take a call.”

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Facebook, also called into question the jurisdiction of CCI to probe the matter. “Supreme Court is hearing an appeal against WhatsApp privacy policy. Even assuming there is suo motu jurisdiction, can this matter be inquired into by CCI when it is before a superior constitutional authority?” On the contrary, Additional Solicitor General Aman Lekhi, appearing for CCI said, “They are not enforcing compliance. But the policy is in place; it is not the statement of WhatsApp that they are giving it up. As long as policy stands, competition law issues persist…”[2]

Towards the end of the hearing, Salve sought 2-3 weeks to reply to the notices sent by CCI. After hearing the parties, the Court eventually adjourned the matter to the end of the month. On the last date of hearing, the Court had refused to stay a June 4 notice of the CCI seeking more information about the WhatsApp privacy policy. While doing so, the Court issued a notice in the applications filed by WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook seeking restraint on coercive action pursuant to the notice.

On May 6 this year, the Court had issued a notice in the appeals filed by WhatsApp and Facebook against the Single Judge order refusing to set aside the CCI probe into the messaging platform’s privacy policy.

For the past few days, the defiant US-based social media giants like Twitter and Facebook are facing tough times in the Indian courts. In many cases, the Courts have simply asked these companies to adhere to laws in India, if they want to work in India.[3]

[Inputs: Bar & Bench]


[1] WhatsApp privacy policy update on hold till India gets data lawsJul 09, 2021, ET

[2] WhatsApp Privacy Policy to be put on hold till Data Protection Bill takes effect: Harish Salve tells Delhi High CourtJul 09, 2021, Bar and Bench

[3] Delhi High Court directs Twitter to file US notarized affidavit on India’s new IT Rules compliance. Supreme Court rejects Facebook’s petition against Delhi Assembly summonsJul 08, 2021, PGurus.com

We are a team of focused individuals with expertise in at least one of the following fields viz. Journalism, Technology, Economics, Politics, Sports & Business. We are factual, accurate and unbiased.
Team PGurus


  1. […] WhatsApp banned two million Indian accounts while it received 345 grievance reports between May 15 and June 15, The company said in its maiden monthly compliance report as mandated by the IT rules. The new IT rules require large digital platforms — with over five million users — to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken. About eight million accounts are banned/ disabled globally on an average per month. […]

  2. Just read in the Economic Times

    42% of the members of the new cabinet have or had a criminal case against them.

    Only goes to show that India is being governed by a cabinet full of criminals.

    Lucky for Swamy he is not a member of this cabinet .

  3. One must not forget that Mark is Mukesh’s good friend and investor.
    That Mukesh is the boss .
    Nothing will be up on what’s up.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here