NEW DELHI: A plea has been filed in the Supreme Court recently to seek direction to the centre to restrain WhatsApp from proceeding with its payments systems unless it fully complies with provisions of the RBI.
The plea was filed by organisation Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change said the messaging platform does not comply with any provision of mandating Grievance Officer and other laws of India.
To open a simple bank account, a customer is required to comply with KYC norms laid down by the Reserve Bank of India or RBI and various other formalities, the plea said.
“WhatsApp is a foreign company with no office or servers in India. To run Payments Service in India, WhatsApp is obligated to have its office and payments in India. Moreover, it is also required to have a Grievance Officer for users in India. Yet, it is being allowed to continue with its Payments and other services, without any checks,” the plea, which is likely to come up for hearing this week, said.
The petition also said the social media giant does not at all comply with tax and other laws of India but its reach is such that it is used by everyone all over the world, be it a commoner or the judges of the top court.
The plea, filed through advocate Virag Gupta, said that every user has his own personal number on WhatsApp but the messaging platform has no number through which its user can contact it for any grievance redressal.
It also pointed out several rumour based crimes that had happened in the country and said that the growth of all such incidents was directly proportional to growth of user base of messaging services like WhatsApp.
“Companies like Facebook Inc. and Google Inc. have appointed Grievance Officer for users in India, but WhatsApp has not. However, the Grievance Officer of Facebook sits in Ireland, and the Grievance Officer of Google sits in USA and are thus rendered ineffective. In order to make Respondent No. 6 (WhatsApp) accountable, it must be directed to comply with Indian Law and appoint Grievance Officer, who shall be the person to address grievance of consumers, as well as co-ordinate with investigating agencies,” the petition said.
WhatsApp has more than 200 million users in India.
Almost one million people are as of now “testing” WhatsApp’s payments service in India, which is the largest base for the Facebook-owned company that has over 1.5 billion users globally.
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