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Facebook, WhatsApp file petitions in SC challenging Madras HC orders, next hearing on transfer petition on September 24

Supreme Court of India

Kapil Sibal informed the packed, sweltering court that Facebook had filed a special leave petition (diary no. 32478/2019) challenging the various Madras High court orders on the WhatsApp traceability case. MediaNama learnt that WhatsApp has also filed a similar petition (diary no. 32487/2019). These petitions have not been listed yet, and the Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, ordered that the special leave petitions be heard with the transfer petition at the next hearing on September 24. As per the case details, this petition was filed on September 5, presumably with the intent of getting it listed in today’s hearing itself. However, that did not happen. Justice Gupta, who was particularly animated today, asked the Solicitor General of India Tushar Mehta for the central government's progress on coming up with Intermediary Liability Rules. He said, “We may give time only if Union of India is working on something that will be released in the very near future.” He reiterated that the court needs to know if the government is merely “contemplating” or coming out with something soon, to which Mukul Rohatgi, Facebook’s counsel, declared, “Statutory process of consultation is underway.” Despite high expectations of a judgement on Facebok's transfer petition, it all boiled down to a barely 8-minute hearing that saw an adjournment. The next hearing is scheduled for September 24 by when the Union of India has to file its submission, Facebook and WhatsApp have to respond to the Tamil Nadu government’s submission, and when…

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