Delhi Court, in a recent hearing, has said that downloading WhatsApp on mobile phones is not mandatory. The petition filed by Advocate Chaitanya Rohilla has claimed that the new policy violates the Right to Privacy guaranteed by the Constitution. The new privacy policy of WhatsApp was slated to come into effect in February but it has now been deferred till May.

The High Court said, “accepting the new privacy policy of social messaging app WhatsApp was a “voluntary” thing and one can choose not to use or join that platform if one did not agree with its terms and conditions.” The court reiterated what it had said in its last hearing on January 18 and clarified, “It is not mandatory to download it. Every other app has similar terms and conditions regarding sharing of user information with others.”

The court observed that WhatsApp is not mandatory to download on mobile phones.observed that the Personal Data Protection Bill was being considered by Parliament and the government was looking into issues raised in the plea.

WhatsApp Not Mandatory 1

During the hearing, Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Chetan Sharma told the court that by not giving Indian users the option to opt out of sharing their data with other companies of Facebook, WhatsApp prima facie appears to be treating users with an “all or nothing approach”. He further added, “Insofar the government is concerned, while the privacy policy offered by WhatsApp to its European users specifically prohibits use of any information shared with Facebook companies for the companies’ purposes, this clause is not found in the privacy policy offered to Indian citizens who form a very substantial part of WhatsApp’s user base.”

 He told the court, “This differential treatment is certainly a cause of concern for the government. It is also a matter of concern for the government that Indian users are being unilaterally subjected to the changes in the privacy policy.”

The next hearing is scheduled for March 1. Stay tuned to this space for latest WhatsApp updates. Sign in four our newsletter to get latest news delivered to your mailbox.