WhatsApp to Delhi High Court: Will not enforce privacy policy till Data Protection Bill comes into effect

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WhatsApp has informed the Delhi High Court that it will not enforce its privacy policy till India’s Data Protection Bill comes out. The assurance was made on July 9 before the division bench comprising Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh.

The court was hearing an appeal by WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook against an older order from another bench, which declined to interfere in the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) investigation into the company’s privacy policy.


Representing WhatsApp, senior advocate Harish Salve said that the company will not enforce its privacy policy until the Data Protection Bill comes out, adding that it is the government who “is administrator of the Rules and will decide this”.

Salve pointed out that the problem is around WhatsApp’s privacy policy and if the Data Protection Bill is brought in at a later stage, “WhatsApp will conform to the parliamentary law.”

Further, appearing for Facebook, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi questioned the CCI’s jurisdiction in initiating an enquiry while exercising suo moto powers, according to Live Law.


“Suo moto Jurisdiction is to be sparingly exercised by a body like CCI. The Supreme Court is already examining the 2016 policy. There are three matters pending in the Delhi HC. The question is even assuming there is suo moto Jurisdiction, can it be exercised when superior constitutional courts are examining the policy?” he asked.

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The court has adjourned the hearing till July 30.

In an earlier order, the Delhi HC vacation bench comprising Justice Anup J Bhambhani and Justice Jasmeet Singh refused to stay CCI’s enquiry. Notably, during the previous hearing Salve told the court the privacy policy is “not new” and “only an update”.


CCI’s probe into the new policy was ordered following a prima facie observation that it violates the Competition Act, 2000 – especially in regards to its terms on sharing personalised data with Facebook. The agency had then called the terms “neither fully transparent nor based on the specific, voluntary consent of users”.

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