In a brief hearing, Justice Singh adverted to an email received by the Court from Whatsapp before proceeding to recuse herself from the matter, taking objection to the email.
It is understood that the email pointed out that Justice Singh had appeared in a connected matter when she was a lawyer. Though WhatsApp later withdrew the email unconditionally, Justice Singh chose not to hear the matter.
“I am not going to hear this case. I was, in any case, not going to hear it,” Justice Singh said even as Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma implored the judge not to recuse.
“There can’t be a better person to hear this matter. It’s a very important question of law,” Sharma submitted.
“No, no. I’m sending it (to another single-judge),” Justice Singh said.
“I appear for WhatsApp. Let the matter be sent to the Single Judge“, said Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appearing for WhatsApp.
Justice Singh ordered that the matter be placed before another single-judge Bench subject to orders of the Chief Justice.
The new policy “virtually gives a 360-degree profile into a person’s online activity“, without any “government oversight“, the petitioner has asserted.
It is added that there is no clarity on extent to which data will be shared and what will be done with the sensitive data of users.
“WhatsApp has made a mockery out of our fundamental right to privacy while discharging a public function in India, besides jeopardizing the National Security of the country by sharing, transmitting and storing the user’s data in some another country and that data, in turn, will be governed by the laws of that foreign country“, the petition reads.