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Tamil Nadu govt makes a U-turn on Facebook transfer petition, asks for decryption

Supreme Court
Credit: Aditi Agrawal

UPDATE (October 24 3:25 pm): Article has been updated with details of the court order. (with reporting inputs by Trisha Jalan) Seemingly under instructions from the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu Vijay Narayan, the Attorney General of India K.K. Venugopal, representing State of Tamil Nadu in the Supreme Court, threw a curveball. Catching everyone in the court room by surprise, more than halfway through the hearing, the State of Tamil Nadu switched gears and said that they did not oppose Facebook’s transfer petition. Venugopal told the Court that the matter needed to be resolved and thus the state was no longer opposed to it. As a result, the Supreme Court granted the transfer of the WhatsApp traceability case, currently pending before the Madras High Court, to the apex court, along with all similar petitions listed before other high courts. Balaji Srinivasan, the Additional Advocate General for the state of Tamil Nadu, told MediaNama after the hearing, “We want the matter to be heard [irrespective of the court]. We don’t want it to keep lingering.” He also said, “Now that the place and forum of hearing is certain, there is no question of who will hear the matter now. … And now it will be heard.” Given the abrupt change in strategy, it appears that Narayan had been given full liberty by the state government to make impromptu changes to the state’s stance as he deemed fit. It is now apparent that the Union of India and the State of Tamil…

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