CASC takes WhatsApp to court, demands a ban on WhatsApp Pay trial

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on February 12, 2020

Think tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change (CASC), which had filed a public interest litigation against WhatsApp Pay in 2019, is seeking an urgent rollback of the platform’s payment services trial, according to a report published by ETTech.

CASC urged the Supreme Court to stop WhatsApp Pay’s trial, which has already been rolled out to over 10 lakh WhatsApp users since its beta version launch back in 2018.

The think tank’s plea is based on the argument that the trial will compromise the privacy and data security of WhatsApp users. Storing users’ sensitive personal data, including financial data, is not in compliance with the RBI circular of data localisation, it is alleged.


Data localisation norms have been the key reason for the company to delay its digital payment services in the country.

According to the RBI’s data localisation norms, foreign companies are required to store all transaction-related data and user data in servers located within the country while removing the data from all foreign servers within 24 hours. WhatsApp is yet to completely localise user data, ETTech reported.

“It is submitted that in any case, there cannot be any blanket permission for trials, and same should be restricted by duration, number of banks involved and monetary limits. WhatsApp on many occasions has claimed compliance with RBI data localization norms, even though RBI’s affidavit clearly proves that it is not the case,” the application stated, according to the report.


The think tank’s plea comes after the Facebook-owned messaging app received the go-ahead from the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI) to proceed with its WhatApp Pay pilot project earlier this month.

The platform had received RBI’s approval as well after assuring authorities that it would comply with data localisation norms, according to a Business Standard report.

WhatsApp Pay, if launched in India, will take on platforms such as Paytm and Google Pay amid India’s strengthening digital payments market.

Published on February 12, 2020

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