Google India Digital Services Pvt Ltd has told the Delhi High Court that its Google Pay app does not require Reserve Bank of India (RBI) authorisation as it is not a payment system operator (PSO) but a third party application provider. Google, in an affidavit, has said the PSO authorised by the RBI is the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) which is the owner and operator of the entire unified payment interface (UPI) network. NPCI, in turn, authorises the payment service provider banks and third party application providers (TPAPs) like Google Pay to conduct transactions on its network, the affidavit said.
The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL which has alleged that Google's mobile payment app, Google Pay or GPay in short, was facilitating financial transactions without the requisite authorisation from RBI.
On Wednesday, a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan listed the matter for further hearing on August 31 after the petitioner sought time to respond to Google's affidavit.
Petitioner Abhijit Mishra, a financial economist, has claimed that GPay was acting as a payments system provider in violation of the Payments and Settlements Act as it has no valid authorisation from the central bank of the country to carry out such functions. Mishra has also contended that GPay does not figure in NPCI's list of authorised "payment systems operators''released on March 20, 2019.
Google has contended, in its reply filed through advocate Himanshu Vij, that it works within the NPCI regime and complies with its guidelines and the applicable laws. It also said that it will take steps to comply with the RBI's March 17, 2020 'Guidelines on Regulation of Payment Aggregators and Payment Gateways' which mandates that entities providing merchant services, like Google Pay, get registered with the central bank.
Google has also said that it is complying with RBI's 2018 ''data circular'' which mandates that all system providers have to ensure that entire data relating to payment systems operated by them are stored only in India.
Google said it is complying with the circular, even though it is only applicable to system providers and not service providers like itself. RBI had earlier told the court that Google Pay is a third party app provider (TPAP) and does not operate any payment systems.
Therefore, its operations are not in violation of the Payment and Settlement System Act of 2007, RBI had said. RBI had also told the high court that since Google Pay does not operate any payment system, it does not find a place in the list of authorised payment system operators.
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