The allegation of WhatsApp not complying with Indian laws, including appointing a grievance officer, under the Information Technology Act to redress complaints on fake news and online hate has come under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court issuing the notice to the US-based internet giant and the Centre seeking their response.
A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra agreed to examine the issue after an NGO alleged that the company was not implementing the laws and also not co-operating with the Indian agencies to deal with the menace of fake news being spread through its platforms leading to lynching and other incidents.
It said the Centre was even contemplating to allow the company to proceed with online payments systems without the firm complying with RBI circular. Advocate Virag Gupta told the bench that other companies like Facebook Inc and Google Inc have appointed a grievance officer for users in India, but WhatsApp had failed to do so. It said that WhatsApp has more than 20 crore active users in India and earned huge revenue from its operation in the country but it does not pay any tax.
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