Petition seeks shifting of cases from high courts to top court.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and social media sites on a plea by social media platform Facebook seeking the transfer of four cases pending before three high courts — Madras, Bombay, and Madhya Pradesh — on the linking of Aadhaar with the profile of the users of social media websites.
Besides Centre, the bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Aniruddha Bose also issued notice to Google, twitter, YouTube and other social media websites and they were directed to respond to the plea for the transfer of cases from high courts to top court by September 13, 2019 — the next date of hearing.
The notice to different social media websites, the court said could be communicated through emails.
While issuing notice, the top court, however, said that Madras high court would continue with the hearing of the plea before it but restrained it from passing any final order.
However, the court said that they have to strike a balance between right to privacy and under what circumstance information about a person can be given and to whom to be given.
The top court order came after senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi and Kapil Sibal appearing for Facebook and WhatsApp argued that the issues being looked into by the high courts are similar — a position contested by Tamil Nadu which opposed the plea for the transfer of cases from Madras high court to Supreme Court.
Urging the court to transfer to itself the four matters pending before the High Courts, Rohatgi said that the issues involved in these cases included the question of privacy and other over-arching issues including whether social media platforms could be asked to share information with the investigating agencies on the people under probe for alleged crime.
He said that all these issues require an “authoritative pronouncement” by the top court.
Opposing the plea for the transfer of cases, attorney-general K.K. Venugopal appearing for Tamil Nadu wondered why the transfer of cases was being sought at this juncture when Madras High Court already had 18 hearing — 10 effective and in eight orders were passed.
Attorney-general said that let Madras high court hear the matter and pronounce the verdict — which he indicated is likely to come next month.