A bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad was informed by the parties that similar issues were pending consideration before the Supreme Court.
The high court also adjourned on similar grounds hearing till September on pleas by Facebook and WhatsApp challenging the new IT rules for social media intermediaries requiring the messaging app to “trace” chats and make provisions to identify the first originator of the information.
In its response, WhatsApp has claimed that the new policy did not affect a user's privacy as personal messages continued to be protected by end-to-end encryption. WhatsApp has also challenged the maintainability of the writ petitions against it.
The Personal Data Protection Bill seeks to regulate the use of individual data by the government and private companies. The Joint Committee of Parliament examining the Bill has been given an extension till the monsoon session to submit its report.
The Centre has also defended the legal validity of its new IT rule requiring messaging apps to “trace” the first originator of the information, saying that the law empowers it to expect such entities to create safe cyberspace and counter “illegal content” either themselves or by assisting the law enforcement agencies.
It has told the court that Section 87 of the Information Technology Act gave it the power to formulate Rule 4(2) of the Intermediary Rules -- which mandates a significant social media intermediary to enable the identification of the first originator of information—in “legitimate state interest” of curbing the menace of fake news and offences concerning national security and public order as well as women and children.