Delhi HC refuses to entertain plea against privacy violation by Truecaller

2 weeks ago


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to entertain a public interest litigation alleging violation of people’s right to privacy by Truecaller, a leading global caller ID platform.

A bench headed by Acting Chief Justice Manmohan orally said it will dismiss the petition by Ajay Shukla, noting that the issue raised by him had been brought up before the Supreme Court through another plea which was withdrawn without the apex court granting him any liberty to approach the high court.

“You can’t re-litigate. This will amount to abuse of process of law. Dismissed as withdrawn means you can’t re-litigate,” the bench, also comprising Justice Manmeet PS Arora, said.

“Nothing has been disclosed in this petition. That’s the beauty of it,” the court remarked.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that the “cause of action” in the two petitions was different and the plea was not filed for publicity.

He claimed Truecaller provides caller ID services to 250 million subscribers in India by “bypassing the law”. The petitioner alleged that Truecaller shared data of third parties without consent, i.e. mobile number and e-mail ID of contacts from phonebook of the person using the mobile app.

“Phone directory used to be public. No one’s consent was obtained. It doesn’t matter. This is a facility. The fact is that the Supreme Court has dismissed your matter. It was not withdrawn with liberty to file (in high court),” the court told the petitioner.

During the hearing, the petitioner also claimed Truecaller causes “reputational loss and commercial loss” as it gives an option to mark contact numbers as “spam”.

Observing that it will dismiss the petition, the court said those aggrieved can notify Truecaller for deletion of their number.

“Please tell them to delete the number. They will delete the number…We will dismiss,” the court said.