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The bench – also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi, Aniruddha Bose, Hrishikesh Roy, and C T Ravikumar – said: “We further direct that WhatsApp will give publicity to this aspect to the customers of WhatsApp in five national newspapers on two occasions.”
The bench said it has recorded the stand taken in the response to the government and “we record the submission of the senior counsel for WhatsApp that they will abide by the terms of the letter till next date of hearing”.
The apex court noted that it Centre’s counsel has brought to its notice that a digital personal data protection bill 2022 is about to be placed before the Parliament, and it is there contention that bill would cover most of the aspects which are subject matter of petitions before this court and the matter may be taken up at a later stage. This request was echoed by WhatsApp counsel too.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal represented WhatsApp and senior advocate Arvind Datar represented Meta. Senior advocates Shyam Divan and K.V. Viswanathan represented the petitioners’ along with other counsel.
The top court was hearing petitions, which included a plea filed by two students, Karmanya Singh Sareen and Shreya Sethi, against the contract entered into between WhatsApp and its parent Facebook to provide access to calls, photographs, texts, videos, and documents shared by users. The petitioners claimed it is a violation of their privacy and free speech.