India’s top court has asked WhatsApp to respond to a petition that alleges it breaches certain Indian regulations, creating another headache for the Facebook Inc-owned firm already facing pressure in India over fake news.
In an order seen by Reuters on Tuesday, India’s Supreme Court asked the messaging service to respond to the petition, filed by a Delhi-based think-tank called the Centre For Accountability And Systemic Change (CASC), within four weeks.
WhatsApp does not comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000, which mandates “the appointment of Grievance Officer by all intermediaries.” the CASC says in its petition a copy of which was reviewed by Reuters.
“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 petition added.
The Indian IT Act mandates intermediaries or carriers of content like WhatsApp, to appoint a Grievance Officer, to handle any queries, concerns or issues that users of the platform may have that do not come under the purview of other authorities.
WhatsApp declined to make a comment specifically about the litigation or their response to it but a spokesman for the messaging service said it has both an Indian corporate entity and a grievance officer for Indian users.
The grievance officer that the spokesman referred to is based in California, also handling India-related issues.
WhatsApp is working on having a grievance officer based in India following talks with the technology ministry, the spokesman said.