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‘Service akin to traditional phone directories’: Delhi HC dismisses PIL against Truecaller

New Delhi, Feb 12, 2024
The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a petition against mobile application Truecaller, which provides users with the identity of a caller from an unknown number.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet Pritam Singh Arora said that services like providing names and emails of phone numbers are a facility, citing the historical practice of publishing telephone directories with names and phone numbers.

It was the petitioner Ajay Shukla’s case that Trucaller violates privacy by providing information related to third parties without their consent.

To this, the court said that this service is akin to a modern-day equivalent of traditional phone directories.

Shukla’s counsel argued that the app reads a user’s phonebook and discloses information about individuals who have not consented to its terms and conditions, potentially causing reputational damage.

However, the defence countered that the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) PIL amounted to “publicity interest litigation”, noting that Shukla had previously approached the Supreme Court with the same plea, which was dismissed without granting him the liberty to approach the high court.

Examining the Supreme Court’s order, the high court also found that the petitioner had not disclosed the prior proceedings in their writ petition, leading it to characterise the petition as re-litigation and potentially an abuse of process. Hence, it dismissed the PIL against Truecaller.(Agency)

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