Challenge to Whatsapp Privacy Policy: Justice Prathiba Singh recuses

Justice Prathiba Singh of Delhi supreme court on Wednesday recused from hearing the petition challenging the updated privacy policy of WhatsApp.

In a brief hearing, Justice Singh adverted to an email received by the Court from Whatsapp before proceeding to recuse herself from the matter, taking objection to the e-mail .

It is understood that the e-mail acknowledged that Justice Singh had appeared during a connected matter when she was a lawyer. Though Whatsapp later withdrew the e-mail unconditionally, Justice Singh chose to not hear the matter.

“I am not getting to hear this case. I was, in any case, not getting to hear it,” Justice Singh said whilst Additional lawman Chetan Sharma implored the judge to not recuse.

“There cannot be a far better person to listen to this matter. it is a vital question of law,” Sharma submitted.

“No, no. I’m sending it ( to a different single-judge),” Justice Singh said.

“I appear for WhatsApp. Let the matter be sent to the only Judge”, said Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for Whatsapp.

Justice Singh ordered that the matter be placed before another single-judge Bench subject to orders of the judge .

The petition, preferred by Advocate Chaitanya Rohilla, has claimed that the new privacy policy of Whatsapp absolutely violates the proper to Privacy guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution of India.

The new policy “virtually gives a 360-degree profile into an individual’s online activity”, with none “government oversight”, the petitioner has asserted.

It is the petitioner’s concern that the updated privacy policy “takes away the choice” of a user to not share their data with other Facebook-owned apps and third-party apps.

It is added that there’s no clarity on extent to which data are going to be shared and what is going to be through with the sensitive data of users.

“WhatsApp has made a mockery out of our fundamental right to privacy while discharging a public function in India, besides jeopardizing the National Security of the country by sharing, transmitting and storing the users data in some another country which data, in turn, are going to be governed by the laws of that foreign country”, the petition reads.

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