The Delhi High Court is seeking a response from Google and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) over PIL against Google's UPI payments app Google Pay (GPay). The PIL filed by Abhijit Mishra claims that Google Pay app fails to comply with RBI's Payments and Settlements Act which renders the app unauthorised to operate in the country.
Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A J Bhambhani questioned the payment regulator over a PIL, which claimed that Google Pay was acting as a payments system provider in violation of the Payments and Settlements Act while it has no valid authorisation from the country's central banking institution to carry out such functions.
The Delhi High Court has issued a notice to both Google and the Reserve Bank of India, asking how is Google Pay app operating and facilitating financial transactions without the requisite authorisation. The notice seeks Google and the Reserve Bank of India's stand on the issue raised in the PIL.
The PIL claims that Google Pay does not appear in the list of authorised 'payment systems operators' released by the Reserve Bank of India on March 29, 2019.
Republic World has verified the 'Certificates of Authorisation issued by the Reserve Bank of India under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 for Setting up and Operating Payment System in India' and we did not find any mention of Google's UPI payments app in there.
We have reached out to Google India for a comment and we will update our story accordingly.
Meanwhile, the Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp happens to be another well-known payment platform which is absent from the Reserve Bank of India's list of 'authorised' payments app in the country. WhatsApp, which currently runs a pilot for its UPI payments service, has about one million users.
In December 2018, WhatsApp's then chief executive officer Chris Daniels requested the Reservice Bank of India for formal approval. Last month, Daniels resigned from his post amid Facebook's privacy woes.
"Google Pay complies with all applicable legal requirements. Google Pay operates as a technology service provider to its partner banks, to allow for payments through the UPI infrastructure, and is not part of payment processing or settlement. There is no requirement for licensing of these services under the prevailing statutory and regulatory provisions. In order to support our partner banks, our efforts in complying with the government's data localisation norms are underway, and given the scale and complexity, we are being mindful to prioritise data security and uninterrupted services to our users as we make this transition. The central bank is apprised of the progress and we remain committed to complying with the laws of the land," Google spokesperson told Republic World.