The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Delhi Police to seize the mobile phones of the members of ‘Friends of RSS’ and ‘Unity against Left’ – the two WhatsApp groups allegedly used to coordinate an attack on students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) earlier this month. The police have also been directed to summon the members who were a part of either one or both the groups.
In response to this, counsel for the Delhi Police told the court, “We have initiated the process. We have identified 37 people of the WhatsApp groups. Some are absconding but we will call all of them.”
Further, the court directed the JNU administration to provide CCTV footage to the police as soon as possible. In addition to this, Justice Brijesh Sethi directed Google and WhatsApp to preserve the data based on basic subscriber information, including the email ids, as per their policy.
The Delhi High Court was hearing a plea seeking to preserve and retrieve all relevant materials and evidence available related to the violence on the JNU campus on January 5. The plea had been filed by three JNU professors – Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood, and Shukla Vinayak Sawant – who sought directions from the court for the preservation and retrieval of all material and evidence available with WhatsApp, Google, and Apple pertaining to relevant data of the two WhatsApp groups, including messages, pictures, and videos and phone numbers of the members, related to the JNU violence.
The counsel for Google argued before the High Court that if WhatsApp shares the email ids of the members, Google will preserve it. Consequently, WhatsApp said that they do not have access to the chat content since it is encrypted but it will put up on affidavit.