Supreme Court on Telecoms and Meity bans 22 Apps

Mr. Neeraj Soni
Mr. Neeraj Soni
Researcher - Policy & Advocacy, CyberPeace
Nov 11, 2023


The Supreme Court of India recently ruled that telecom companies cannot be debarred from reissuing the deactivated numbers to a new subscriber, but such reallocation of deactivated numbers is allowed only after the expiration of the period of 90 days from such deactivation. The Apex Court of India also mentioned a crucial thing that it is the responsibility of the user to delete his associated data with his number or any WhatsApp account data to ensure his privacy. The  Centre has recently also blocked 22 apps which were part of unlawful operations of betting or money laundering. In the digital landscape, the Intervention of legislature and judiciary is playing a key role in framing policies or coming up with guidelines advocating for a true cyber-safe India and encouraging the responsible use of technologies and Internet-availed services. 

Telecom companies cannot be barred from reissuing the deactivated numbers

In a petition before the Supreme Court of India, seeking direction from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to instruct mobile service providers to stop issuing deactivated mobile numbers. The apex court has dismissed the petition by stating that mobile service providers in India are allowed to allocate the deactivated numbers to new users or subscribers but only after 90 days from the deactivation of the Number. The court dismissed the contention of an Advocate who contended for stopping providers from issuing deactivated numbers to new customers. The users who often change their mobile numbers need to be precautionary and aware of this ruling.  The court stated that “It is for the earlier subscriber to take adequate steps to ensure that privacy is maintained”.

A concern of Breach of Confidential Data

The apex court stated that it is the responsibility of the user to delete his Whats App account attached to the previous phone number and erase his data. The Supreme Court has clearly stated that it is the duty of users to delete any data shared on WhatsApp or elsewhere to ensure their data and privacy is protected. Hence, users need to be aware of the Supreme Court ruling that once the number is deactivated for non-use and disconnection, it can not be reallocated before the expiry of the 90-day period of such deactivation. However, such reallocation of numbers to a new user or subscriber is allowed and can be done after such 90 days period. 

MEITY issued blocking orders against 22 illegal betting apps & websites

The government of India has been very critical in safeguarding Indian cyberspace by banning and blocking various websites and apps which have been operating illegally by scamming/dupping people of huge sums of money and also committing crimes like data breaches. In recent developments, the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (Meity), on 05 November 2023, banned 22 apps, including Mahadev Book and Reddyannaprestopro. The apps have been banned on the pretext of being used by politicians to earn money illegally. The action has been taken by Meity to prevent unlawful operations by such apps. So, 22 illegal betting apps have been blocked, the Mahadev book app being one of them. The Centre has taken this decision on the recommendation of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). These 22 apps which were involved or part of illegal betting have been blocked accordingly. ED raids on the Mahadev book app in Chattisgarh and revealed unlawful operations. This investigation has been underway for the past few months by the ED.

Applicable laws to prevent money laundering and the power of government to block such websites and apps

The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) is legislation which aims to prevent and prosecute cases of money laundering. The government have the power to block or recommend shutting down websites and apps under section 69A of the Information and Technology Act, 2000, under some specific condition as enumerated under section 69A.


In the evolving digital landscape, cyberspace covers several aspects and certain regulations or guidelines are required for smooth and secure functioning.  We all sometimes change our phone numbers or deactivate the previous one, hence, it is significantly important to delete the data associated with your phone number or any such social media account data attached to your phone number. Hence, such a phone number is eligible for reallocation to a new or early subscriber after the expiration of a period of 90 days from such deactivation. Also, recently, the centre has blocked the websites or apps which were found to be part of illegal operations of betting or money laundering. Users are advised not to misuse the Internet-availed services. Hence creating a lawful and safe Internet environment for all. 


Nov 11, 2023
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