SC notice to Centre, WhatsApp on plea over RBI circular

WhatsApp does not pay taxes in India and with the government after partnering with it, the valuation of the company is to increase to Rs 60,000 crore, according to the petition.

The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the Union government and the WhatsApp on a petition seeking a direction to stop the messaging platform from proceeding with its payment system for not complying with the RBI circular, particularly on the appointment of grievance officer.

A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Indu Malhotra sought a response from Union government's finance, law and home ministries and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India within four weeks on the petition filed by NGO Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC).

The petition filed by advocate Archana Dave Pathak contended that the WhatsApp is the biggest messaging platform in the country with more than 20 crore active users but this application has got no number through which its user can contact for grievance redressal.

Advocate Virag Gupta, representing the petitioner, contended growth of various crimes including lynchings were directly proportional to the increase in the user base of messaging service like WhatsApp.

Citing instances of a mass exodus of people from Northeast from Bengaluru in 2012, and recent incidents of lynchings on child lifting rumours, the petitioner claimed the government took knee-jerk reaction of shutting down the internet to combat dangerous aspects of social media. “Since 2012, India has had 175 internet shutdowns, which has cost more than $3 billion to the economy,” it said.

“To run payment service here, WhatsApp is obligated to have its office and servers in India. Moreover, it is required to have a grievance officer for users. Yet, it is being allowed to continue with payment and other services without any check,” the petitioner claimed.

WhatsApp does not pay taxes in India and with the government after partnering with it, the valuation of the company is to increase to Rs 60,000 crore, it said.

“In order to provide payment services, WhatsApp must be directed to store the data in Indian servers as mandated by the RBI circular of April 6, 2018 and pay taxes on income caused due to its operations here,” the petitioner pleaded.

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SC notice to Centre, WhatsApp on plea over RBI circular

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