While quashing a public interest litigation by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay seeking to link social media accounts with Aadhaar, PAN or voter ID cards to target fake accounts, the Delhi High Court said on Monday (December 9) that such a move would lead to storage of personal information of genuine users on foreign servers.
According to an ET report, the HC bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said that the move will require framing of policies or amendment in existing laws which can be done by the central government only. “Role of courts is to interpret the law as it is. We are not concerned with what the law ought to be,” the bench said.
However, the bench added that in exceptional cases where there is a gap in the provisions of the government laws, the courts can step in.
The latest decision of the HC comes at a time when the drafted Personal Data Protection Bill has been approved by the union cabinet and is all set to be presented in the ongoing winter session of the Indian parliament.
The HC further directed that the linking of social media accounts with Aadhaar or PAN is a crucial matter and it can’t be treated as a gap in policy. Moreover, HC believes that if it directs in favour of the plea, it would have far-reaching consequences regarding data of genuine account holders.
While disposing of the PIL filed by Upadhyay, HC said that it was not inclined to issue any direction to the government as it is already deliberating on the Law Commission reports on the issue.
However, the Delhi HC has urged the government to keep in mind that personal data belonging to genuine users is also at stake. A central approach has to be considered by the government while taking any decision on the linking of social media platforms with any identity cards, the HC added.
In its plea, Upadhyay has said that around 20% of the social media accounts were fake, ghost or duplicate. During the hearing, the BJP leader also requested that something has to be done as anyone can create a fake account and can spread wrong or controversial information through social media platforms.
Upadhyay, in his plea, also alleged that fake social media accounts are used to propagate fake and paid news during elections.