New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday transferred to itself petitions seeking the linking of social media profiles with identity proof, including Aadhaar.
The petitions that the top court transferred are currently before Madras, Bombay and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.
The social media platforms — Facebook, WhatsApp and others had moved the top court seeking the transfer of cases pending before different high courts to the apex court.
Noting that the draft Information Technology Intermediaries Guide-lines (Amendment) Rules, 2018, are likely to be completed by January 15, 2020, a bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose directed the listing of the matter in the last week of January 2020 before an appropriate bench.
The hearing on Tuesday saw both the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government asserting that intermediaries were mandated under the Section 69 of the IT Act to provide the investigating agencies with decrypted messages, the social media platforms resisted it saying that they could not be fastened with such obligations.
Attorney general K.K.Venugopal appearing for Tamil Nadu said that “once they (social media platforms) have come here, they can’t say that they can't decrypt the messages.”
Citing the provisions of IT Act, Venugopal said that the law provides for decryption of data and information and these sections of the IT Act have not been challenged and thus intermediaries cannot claim they cannot decrypt.
Raising doubts whether intermediaries are under legal obligation to provide the decrypted messages, Justice Gupta said, “Prima facie, we don’t agree. We may agree with you eventually, but we do not agree straightway that they are mandated to share information.”