Delhi High Court junks PIL seeking OTP for transaction on foreign sites

Pritam Pal Singh
Observing that this is mere apprehension of being cheated , the bench said it does not warrant any specific direction. Hence the writ petition is dismissed.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking to implement one-time passwords (OTPs) for making payments through debit or credit cards on international websites, observing that items are (in certain instances) sold in India also without such validation.

OTP is a randomly generated number and sent to registered cellphone numbers and email addresses for validation of transactions online.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D N Patel observed that the petitioner, advocate Amit Sahni, did not show anything to the effect that OTP is mandatory for online purchases made in India. It appears that OTP is not always required within India. It all depends on the facts and circumstances of the case, the bench said.

Moreover, the court said, making a purchase on international website is not (a) must , and added that several warnings and information are displayed on the websites during such transactions. The court observed that such difficulties will arise only if confused people who are not sure whether to purchase or not are making these transactions, as the websites clearly mention addresses and reflects the amount to be debited.

Observing that this is mere apprehension of being cheated , the bench said it does not warrant any specific direction. Hence the writ petition is dismissed.

The PIL by Sahni had sought the court s direction to the Reserve Bank of India and the Finance Ministry to use OTP or any other layer of security to put account-holders to notice before they make online payments on international websites. He also prayed that the authorities should ask banks to not release any amount using debit or credit cards that allow deduction without entering a PIN or password.

The bench, in the presence of Central government s senior panel counsel Nagender Benipal, said that making payments on international websites is a voluntarily act. …You want to use their (international) websites but don t want to abide by their conditions. Why go for foreign products when Indian (products) are available easily in the market.