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Kerala HC dismisses plea seeking ban on WhatsApp

News Agencies | Updated on: 28 June 2021, 19:39 IST

The Kerala High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL seeking a directive to the Central government to ban the operation and use of WhatsApp if it is not willing to co-operate with the lawful authorities in India.

Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly dismissed the petition.

KG Omanakuttan a Software Engineer from Idukki district in Kerala submitted the plea.

The court while dismissing the petition said, "It was premature and should be the job of investigating agencies and courts to decide whether messages from WhatsApp were manipulated by users to not be used as evidence. We are not inclined to entertain any of the prayers sought for, we are dismissing the writ petition."

The plea submitted that, "WhatsApp itself violates the privacy of its users. It is violating the fundamental rights of the citizens guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution and posing a potential threat to the national interest and national security. If the app was not willing to change its technology and did not co-operate with the government, it should not be allowed to operate in the country. The Centre had banned many websites and mobile Apps for acting against the interest of the country. The app cannot blame the law of this land."

It stated that fake information in the form of texts, images and videos is been widely spread and circulated.

Character assassination of many prominent personalities of all political parties was done using such messages, said the plea.

"The company stated in its privacy policy that it would collect any type of data from its users, including their phone's battery level. This statement was contrary to the claims of the app that the messages sent on its platform were protected by end-to-end encryption. The claims were baseless," it said.

The petition stated that the app was exposed to a lot of bugs and errors and could be easily manipulated, adding that it was being used by anti-national elements to send messages and information.

"This app is being used by anti-nationals to pass their messages and information. Criminal activities such as threats, honey traps, fake visas, admissions and job placements are a few instances of misuse of the app. The authorities are finding it difficult to trace the source of unlawful activities as there are no laws in India to insist that they share the source. The company has never cooperated with the authorities saying that the platform is end-to-end encrypted, even in cases which involve the security of the nation," it said.

"No one is above the law and no one should be allowed to be above law. The app should abide by the laws of this country so as to function here. If the app is not willing to change its technology and cooperate with the government, it should not be permitted to operate," it added.


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First published: 28 June 2021, 19:39 IST