Govt. Wants Supreme Court To Penalise Whatsapp; PhonePe, m-pesa Slapped With Heavy Fine

Govt. and RBI has initiated a crackdown against mobile wallets for violating rules and regulations pertaining to digital payments.

And that includes Whatsapp payments as well.

Govt. to Supreme Court: Take Action Against Whatsapp

Whatsapp has already started testing its digital payments feature, which is based on UPI.

Whatsapp has 5 crore active users in India, and once their payments feature starts with full vigor, then it would be simply unstoppable.

However, Govt has not allowed Whatsapp to even test their payments feature, and this is where the bone of contention lies.

In an ongoing case pertaining to Whatsapp payments in India, Govt. has informed the Supreme Court that they should take action against Whatsapp for testing their payments feature in India.

In reply, the Supreme Court has stated that they will first read the case files, and then take action.

Why Should Whatsapp Be Fined?

First of all, Govt. is claiming that Whatsapp has not received any approval for initiating its UPI based payments feature in India.

Secondly, Think tank Centre for Accountability and Systemic Change, a citizen-powered watchdog for governance in India, has claimed that Whatsapp should not be allowed to offer their payments services in India, because:

  1. Whatsapp has disagreed to hire a dedicated grievance officer for their payments feature in India
  2. Whatsapp is not complying with data localization laws, which Govt. of India wants for every payment processing company.

A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court, and Justices RF Nariman and Vineet Sharan are hearing the case.

Is Whatsapp Allowed To Run Payments Services In India?

Data localization laws and other issues such as grievance officer are requirements of the Department of Telecom and Ministry of Electronics and IT.

On the other hand, NPCI, which is the nodal agency for all digital payments in India, has allowed Whatsapp to test their payments feature in India, since it would be UPI based, giving a further push to the Make in India digital payments platform.

NPCI has also made it clear that Whatsapp should follow all the rules, and have allowed them to test the payments feature with 1 million users.

Now, it is turning into an interesting case, as Paytm has been quite vocal against Whatsapp payments, and have called it as a ‘security risk’.

We will keep you updated.

Also Read: WhatsApp Payments Vs Google Tez Vs PhonePe Vs Paytm Vs BHIM – Who’s The Winner?

RBI Slaps Fine Against PhonePe, Vodafone m-pesa & Others

Meanwhile Reserve Bank of India has slapped heavy penalty against mobile wallets in India. The fine has been imposed for violating Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

The wallets and their subsequent penalties are:

Vodafone m-pesa: Rs 3.05 crore penalty

Mobile Payments: Rs 1 crore

PhonePe: Rs 1 crore

GI Technology: Rs 1 crore

Y-Cash Software Solutions: Rs 5 lakh

Besides, traditional payment transfer platforms too have been slapped with fines.

Western Union Financial Services Inc, USA: Rs 29,66,959

MoneyGram Payment Systems Inc, USA: Rs 10,11,653

In a statement, RBI said, “In exercise of powers vested under Section 30 of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed monetary penalty on five PPI Issuers for non-compliance of regulatory guidelines,”

We will keep you updated as we receive more details.

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